The Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) may soon be ruled and governed by bar and dance bar owners. Yes you heard it right.
Over 7-8 hoteliers who are also owners of dance bars and liquor vends in Mira Road, Bhayandar and Uttan – many of them either partly illegal and some of them completely illegal, have been handed out tickets by BJP MLA Narendra Mehta claim knowledgeable sources, who also allege that these hoteliers were asked to cough up anywhere between Rs 30 lakh to Rs 50 lakh per ticket.
IndiaScribes.com was unable to independently verify all the allegations, but opposition candidates claim that Narendra Mehta adopted a “buy and sell” policy with the bar owners offering tickets and candidature for a starting price of Rs 30 lakh. In some cases the price of a BJP ticket was Rs 50 lakh, as alleged by former 4-time BJP corporator Pramod Sawant (who has now joined the Shiv Sena) and in one particular case as the local gossip goes corporator candidate
It is a known fact in the area as to which candidates own dance bars, restaurants and bars, or even wine shops.
Prominent among the Bar Owners and Dance Bar owners who are now contesting the MBMC polls on a BJP ticket are Ganesh Shetty, owner of Anna Palace who is contesting from Ward No 3, Hotelier and Bar owner Arvind Shetty who originally lives at Goregaon but has several bars, restaurants and dance bars like Spring, Swagat, Sai Sanidhi, etc., in the Kashimira and Uttan Chowk area and Yashwant Kaangne, owner of an illegal bar in Bhayandar (his wife Mina Yashwant Kangane is contesting on a BJP ticket)
Last year, six MBMC members including Yashwant Kaangne, Narendra Mehta (both BJP), Liyakat Shaikh, Shabnan Shaikh (both NCP), Hansukumar Pandey and Jubeir Inamdaar (both Congress) were facing charges related to illegal constructions.
While Pandey, Liyakat and Shabnam Shaikh have been accused of carrying out illegal constructions, Inaamdar was under the scanner for his alleged role in preventing the demolition squad from pulling down an illegal structure in Mira Road.
Kaangne on the other hand is said to be the owner of a bar in Bhayandar which has been tagged as illegal.
In October 2015, according to an Afternnon Despatch & Courier report, when a police team from the Thane (rural) police raided a ladies orchestra bar Anna Palace in Bhayandar, little did they know that they would soon have to take hammers into their hands and don the role of demolition squad personnel.
The drama unfolded around midnight when a police team headed by Deputy SP Suhas Bawache swooped down on Hotel Anna Palace, a notorious Ladies Orchestra Bar located amidst an industrial area of Bhayandar (east).
With just four female singers on stage, the initial search within the bar came up with nothing incriminating. However the informer posing as a client had confirmed the presence of a large number of bar girls prompting the police team to examine every inch of the premises. Soon they found that the portion of a back-wall actually had a secret door which led to multiple cavities, a precarious makeshift ladder and finally a cramped room where 14 girls were found to be hiding.
The girls had apparently managed to slip away into the hidden cavity seconds before the Social Service branch team raided and inspected the bar.
Several notorious bar owners indulging in late night activities and prostitution rackets are said to have created cavities to hide bar girls during raids.
In January this year Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA and corporator Narendra Mehta and five officers of the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) were booked for demanding Rs 2 crore extortion from a builder in 2015, according to a Times of India report.
The Naya Nagar police in Mira Road filed the FIR on January 25, 2017 following the Bombay high court order. Last year, the complainant Vinod Trivedi (45) had filed a criminal writ petition alleging that the police failed to take his complaint against Mehta and the officers.
Mehta refuted the charges saying that the builder had been asked to stop work as he had submitted fake documents. “The builder has mentioned in his police statement that he has no proof. It is easy for anyone to make allegations,” said Mehta.
Trivedi had alleged that Mehta along with MBMC town planner Dilip Gheware, assistant commissioner (encroachment) Chandakant Borse, ward officers Swapnil Sawant and Sanjay Dhonde, Bhupesh Kakde (junior engineer) had demanded Rs 2 crore for permission to construct a residential building in Bhayander.
Trivedi had the development rights of the property. On May 25, 2015, when Trivedi approached Gheware for the commencement certificate (plinth level) to start the construction work, he was told to speak to Mehta.
While Trivedi did not speak to Mehta, he met Gheware and reminded him of a clause where the builder could go ahead with the construction if the civic administration failed to respond to the application.
On September 15, 2015, Trivedi was issued a stop-work notice and asked him to obtain the CC. On October 3, 2015, the MBMC demolished his structure. Trivedi alleged that all that the civic officers told him was to meet Mehta.
On November 17, 2015, Mehta allegedly called Trivedi on his cellphone and demanded Rs 2 crore to carry out the construction work. The same evening Trivedi approached the police with his complaint but was turned away.
Following the court’s directive, the police booked Mehta and the others under Section 385 (extortion) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.
In November last year, Mehta was acquitted of a 14-year-old bribery charges by the Thane court. He was accused of demanding Rs 20,000, reports TOI.