BY FLYNN REMEDIOS: With less than four weeks to go for the Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation polls, IndiaScribes.com conducted a survey to ascertain public opinion and perception among Mira-Bhayandar residents vis-à-vis senior politicians as to who is the most corrupt, vindictive and revengeful politician of all (past and present) in the twin cities of Mira-Bhayandar. No guesses as to who won hands down.
About 1000 people (males and females) residing in the Mira-Bhyandar region for over two years and more were interviewed on telephone by IndiaScribes.com. We asked all interviewees one simple question – who is the most vindictive, revengeful and corrupt politician as perceived by you in Mira-Bhayandar – Gilbert Mendonca, Muzaffar Hussain, Narendra Mehta, Pratap Sarnaik, Rajan Vichare and Asif Patel among the senior lot.
Narendra Mehta won hands down with over 60 per cent surveyed residents of Mira Bhayandar claiming that Mehta is the perceived most corrupt and revengeful politician in town. Asif Patel who has now taken a back seat, still managed to secure the second place
Let us find out why residents of Mira Bhayandar fear Narendra Mehta and perceive him to be one of the most revengeful and corrupt:
According to a Times of India report in January 2017, the sitting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Mira Bhayander and corporator Narendra Mehta in cahoots with five officers of the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) were booked for demanding Rs 2 crore as extortion money from a builder in 2015.
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. 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. Mehta and the others were booked under IPC sections 385 (extortion) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.
According to ABP Mazha and Free Press Journal reports, in a Rs 79-crore scam, MLA Narendra Mehta’s low-cost housing project, Apna Ghar, in Mira Road was served a seizure notice by district revenue authorities. The authorities had sought Rs 79-crore in royalty for illegal excavation of sand for the Apna Ghar project. The sand was reportedly used to fill up an illegal access road built on government land.
The seizure notice was served for non-payment of royalty. If Narendra Mehta’s does not pay up, the project may be completely stalled, leaving thousands of buyers and investors in the doldrums, said the report.
The Apna Ghar Project has over 2500 houses, and the total size of the project is pegged at Rs 200 crore. Mehta managed to pocket a huge packet out of this deal, it is alleged.
According to another DNA report dated October 2015, the ambitious Rs 270 crore pipeline project of supplying additional 75 mld (million litres per day) water to the Mira-Bhayander region was also under the scanner. In fact, the project could open a can of worms pointing towards a scam as it has not been granted permission by several agencies, reported DNA.
According to another media report, in 2012, the ex-mayor of the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC), who is presently a president of BJP’s Thane district unit, Narendra Mehta was in custody together with his associates at Bhayander police station for allegedly assaulting a journalist working with a weekly magazine.
There are several such examples of criminal cases against Mehta. Let us see who is Narendra Mehta:
According to the Hindustan Times, Mehta is the founder of the Seven Eleven Group of companies that has a 100-bed hospital, CBSE school besides mega affordable township project Apna Ghar to its credit, but all of them at some point or the other have been mired in controversies and allegations of scams.
In spite of Mehta being a class 8 drop out, he had declared assets worth Rs 18 crore in his election affidavit in 2014. This rise happened over a span of 7 to 8 years, after Mehta broke off ties with the Congress to join the BJP and became the face and chief fixer of the BJP in Mira-Bhayandar.
Mehta is not new to controversy. The MBMC body had issued a show cause notice to Mehta for making illegal alterations in his school. Earlier, the legislator had also faced allegations of illegal hacking of mangroves for his construction projects but has denied the same. Mehta has also been accused of rioting, attempt to murder, land grabbing and several other smaller crimes. There are at least 3-4 allegations of destroying mangroves, illegal land-grabbing, etc to his credit.
According to a Hindustan Times article dated 31st August 2016, in December, 2002 Mehta was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Thane for accepting a Rs 20,000 bribe from a local resident.
Mehta’s litany of crimes and criminal activities go on and on. His meteoric rise from being an 8th class dropout to a multi-millionaire speaks volumes for his grit and ambition. His official or declared assets skyrocketed from Rs 3 crore in 2009 to Rs 18 crore in 2014. His undeclared or unofficial assets are rumored to run into Rs 80 to Rs 100 crore.
Mehta’s main rival in Mira Bhayandar has been Gilbert Mendonca for a long time now, and this year, with Gilbert Mendonca having joined the Shiv Sena, knives are drawn once again for a tough battle between the two leading and veteran politicians of the twin cities of Mira Bhayandar.
Who will beat the other, only time will tell.. The answer will be known on August 21st
Editor’s Note: IndiaScribes.com’s Political Editor Flynn Remedios tried to contact Narendra Mehta, Gilbert Mendonca, Muzaffar Hussain and others mentioned in this article. In spite of several attempts as well as continuous messages on social media for 2-3 days, the above-mentioned were not available for comment or response to this survey and their supporters and party workers would not give us their direct mobile contact numbers to seek a response.
In case of any post-publication clarifications, the politicians mentioned above, may contact us on our What’s App helpline +918779440664