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High court seeks to know why structures at Kangana Ranaut's office were demolished

The actress's lawyer alleged that the BMC carried out the demolition only because Ranaut had criticized the Maharashtra government.

Our Correspondent

The Bombay high court yesterday asked the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) why it had initiated demolition of various structures at the entrance to the office of Kangana Ranaut on 9 September. The court also asked if all the structures that were demolished were illegal.

The BMC had earlier told the court that Ranaut had carried out some alterations at the premises without permisison. But Ranaut, in her reply, submitted photographs of her office premises that showed the structures in existence even in January.

Ranaut's lawyer Birendra Saraf told the court, "Notwithstanding the fact that there has never been any illegal work carried out, the portions that the BMC has said to be 'ongoing illegal construction' existed prior to when the 'illegality' was allegedly detected."

Saraf also pointed out that the photographs submitted by the BMC, which it claimed were clicked on 5 September, did not have any date and time stamps on them. The bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice RI Chagla then asked the BMC officer who had clicked the pictures to submit his phone to ascertain when the pictures were clicked.

The bench also noted that the BMC, in its affidavit, had said that the position of the entrance to Ranaut's office had been changed, but the civic team had gone on to demolish other parts of the office too.

"How was the ground floor demolished if there is no ongoing work there?" the judges asked. "The only thing shown is that the position of the entrance gate was changed. There is no ongoing work shown on the ground floor. Whatever they have alleged in the affidavit regarding the ground floor is all already done. So how was the ground floor demolished?"

Saraf said the BMC had only carried out the demolition work because Ranaut had been critical of the Maharashtra government.