After a lengthy hearing of over three hours, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday closed for judgment the plea filed by Bollywood actor Sonu Sood - challenging the demolition notice served to him by the BMC for allegedly converting his Juhu-based six-storey residential complex into a hotel.
A bench of Justice Prithviraj Chavan heard the arguments of senior counsel Anil Sakhre for the BMC and Amogh Singh for Sood.
While the BMC seeks to demolish the illegal alterations made in Shakti Sagar, Sood's building, the actor on the other hand, claims to have all permissions to use the structure.
Opening the arguments, Singh told the judge that the BMC's notice is 'vague' as it doesn't specify what exactly is illegally constructed or altered in contravention of the sanctioned plan. "There is no specification as to the nature of illegalities. In fact, there is no speaking order or proper reasoning in the order passed by the civic body against my reply filed in response to their demolition notice," Singh pointed out.
"As far as the mandatory clearances from MCZMA are concerned, it is our case that due to the pandemic the authority did not conduct any hearing and thus the same is delayed. The allegation that the revenue records of the property in question do not reflect my name, it must be noted that the very property has been mortgaged with Standard Chartered Bank. How would have the bank sanctioned loan without checking the property's title?" Singh argued further.
In his brief submissions, Singh highlighted the fact that his client used this structure for various 'social purposes' one of which "is the fact that the building was given to the policemen to stay in during the lockdown period," the counsel emphasised.
Per contra, senior counsel Sakhre for BMC told the court that the actor is a 'habitual offender' for illegal construction. He pointed out that parts of the same structure were demolished twice earlier owing to the 'blatant illegalities.'
"The petitioner (Sood) has not come with clean hands before this court. He has suppressed the fact that demolition was carried out twice by the BMC for the blatant alterations in the property in contravention to the sanctioned plan. He carried out the illegal construction under the garb of beautification of the rooms," Sakhre pointed out.
"Thus, he cannot be allowed to run a hotel from a residential building only for commercial purposes. His plea must not be considered and be dismissed at the outset," the counsel urged.
The judge, having heard the contentions from both the sides, concluded the arguments and closed the matter for judgment.