The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) had to shell out Rs 79.63 lakhs to rope in senior advocates to fight the Campa Cola illegal construction case in various courts, a RTI query revealed here.
This information was given in response to a query filed by Mumbai based RTI activist Anil Galgali with the Building Proposal Department of the MCGM on November 18, 2013 seeking the total amount spent by civic body to represent the case.
The Public Information Officer of MCGM, P V Naik in a reply said the Corporation has paid a total amount of Rs 79,63,000 so far to four lawyers, who were engaged by MCGM for fighting the Worli Campa Cola compound case, where residents of unauthorised flats are facing the demolition sword.
He further said that this information has been obtained from the records maintained by the Accounts Department of the legal department of MCGM.
Naik said that MCGM had hired Counsel Joquim Rais in Bombay Civil court, Counsel S U Kamdar in the High Court, Counsel Gulam Vanwati and Counsel Pallav Sisodia to represent the MCGM in the Supreme Court, in the Campa Cola case.
According to the information given by the Legal department of the MCGM, it paid Rs 1,50,000 to Counsel Joquim Rais to fight the case in the Bombay Civil Court. Counsel S U Kamdar was paid Rs 1,35,000 to represent the MCGM’s case in the High Court.
In the Supreme Court, Counsel Gulam Vanwati, also an Ex-Attorney General of India was paid Rs 57,75,000 to appear for the MCGM while Counsel Pallav Sisodia was paid Rs 19,03,000 by the MCGM to appear in the apex court.
Galgali had also sought to know the total number of MCGM officers and other staffers suspended by the civic body in the case.
However, M G Borikar, Assistant Engineer in the Building Proposal department of MCGM claimed in response to the query that this information was not available in their office record.
Galgali told PTI that it is unfortunate that the MCGM has not maintained any records of officials suspended in the illegal construction of the buildings.
“Campa-Cola residents have fought hard to save their homes from so many years. It is very unfortunate that the BMC has maintained no records on their own officials. This itself proves that the BMC is trying to save its corrupt officials from the law,” Galgali said.
The MCGM had yesterday sent a notice to the residents of the controversial housing society in South Mumbai, and had asked them to vacate the premises by June 1, 2014.
In November last year, Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of media reports on demolition of the building and stayed the action and ordered the MCGM to delay it till May 31, 2014.
Over 100 families have been residing in the complex for the past 25 years. About 102 flats in the high rise were declared illegal as they were built without permission of the MCGM.