NAPM says builder mafia behind arrest of RTI activist Kamlakar Shenoy
July 18, 2011 05:15 PM |
Moneylife Digital Team
National Alliance of People’s Movements considers protest petition to the government for targeting Mr Shenoy who had filed complaint on slum rehabilitation scam
National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) will send a petition to the government, protesting against the arrest of RTI activist Kamlakar Shenoy last week. Mr Shenoy was arrested by Vasai police on Saturday evening, at Dadar, and he has been remanded for three days police custody. He has been arrested on two-year-old complaint by a builder under the Prevention of Atrocities Act.
Activists have alleged that Mr Shenoy’s arrest is the handiwork of a builder mafia that is pressurising the Maharashtra government to withdraw the resolution that was promulgated after a nine-day fast by Ms Medha Patkar for an independent inquiry into scams related to slum rehabilitation projects. NAPM says Shivalik Ventures, a construction company, is behind Mr Shenoy’s arrest, as he had blown the lid off the Golibar land scam in which the company is alleged to have been involved.
Mr Shenoy had exposed that Shivalik had flouted several rules in 150 buildings, cheated CIDCO of Rs2 crore in revenue and had illegally encroached on the firing range of the Indian Air Force in Golibar. Shivalik had stated that the land never belonged to the army and it had approached the government for a no-objection certificate to start construction on a land area of 62 acres.
After Mr Shenoy lodged a complaint before the Magistrate’s Court, Shivalik’s proprietor Ramakant Jadhav filed a complaint under the Prevention of Atrocities Act against Mr Shenoy, alleging that the company was being harassed wrongfully. Acting on Mr Shenoy’s complaint, in August 2010 the court issued summons to 11 people from the management of Shivalik Ventures, the Nallasopara Municipal Corporation, having found prima facie evidence against them.
Mr Shenoy was arrested on Saturday in relation to this 2008 case, for which the police have failed to come up with any evidence. “We would also like to point out that there are hundreds of cases of atrocities against Dalits and adivasis across Maharashtra by the land mafia. It is against such people that the Atrocities Act should actually be used,” said NAPM spokesperson Santosh Daundkar.
“Meanwhile, we are trying to get him bail”, Mr Daundkar said. “We will definitely go forward with a petition. But whether or not a formal protest will be launched will be decided only after Mr Shenoy is released.”
Mr Shenoy is currently in a police lock-up at Vasaigaon Police Station.