Harsiddhi scam: Bombay HC pulls up BMC, SRA

Bombay HC directed the BMC and Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) to submit within two weeks all files pertaining to the 18-storey Harsiddhi building, the demolition of which has been sought by the navy.

Last Updated: Feb 28, 2011, 19:32 PM IST

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday
directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Slum
Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) to submit within two weeks all
files pertaining to the 18-storey Harsiddhi building, the
demolition of which has been sought by the navy.

The court passed the order while hearing a petition
filed by the Indian Navy last October seeking demolition of
the building in Worli as it had not obtained the requisite no
objection certificate from western naval authorities before
construction.
According to the navy, the building is just 57 m from
its base INS Trata, a portion of which has sensitive missiles
and launchers. As per directive passed by the state
government, NOC has to be procured from the navy for any
construction within 300 m of the base.

"If permission has not been given for construction on
a plot then how can a 18-storey building be built? We are
dealing with security of the nation and national defence. This
is not about some builder making money," a division bench of
justices D K Deshmukh and K K Tated questioned.

"We will not allow something, which we apprehend will
be a threat to security, to be done. Even if the building is
constructed fully and occupied, if it is found and decided by
the court that it is a danger to a naval installation it will
have to be pulled down irrespective of whether it is Godrej`s
or Tata`s building," Justice Deshmukh observed.

According to the petition, in September 2008, the
urban development department had issued a letter to SRA
directing it to issue stop work notice. However, the SRA had
then claimed that it does not have power to stop construction
of any building.

Pulling up the SRA, Justice Deshmukh said, "Everybody
is aware of a naval installation there except SRA."

In its petition, Navy has alleged that the builders
Rajshree Constructions and the developers Prithvi Corporation
with the connivance of SRA and in conjunction with some
powerful persons were able to exert undue influence on SRA
authorities.