Acting on a court order, an FIR was on Wednesday registered against popular stand-up comedian Kapil Sharma under Environment Protection Act for allegedly destroying mangroves due to illegal construction near his bungalow in suburban Andheri in Mumbai.
The 35-year-old comedian was booked under relevant sections of the Environment Protection Act, the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, and also Indian Penal Code Section 187 (omission to assist public servant when bound by law to give assistance), police said.
Earlier in the day, the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate at Andheri heard a complaint filed by social activist Santosh Daundkar and ordered registration of an FIR against Sharma and others involved.
“Judge A A Panchbhai was convinced by our argument about illegal construction (allegedly by Sharma) in a mangrove buffer zone. It’s a known fact that the accused is in possession of a small bungalow in Andheri (West).
“At this place he started doing illegal construction by adding additional floors that violates the law,” said advocate Abha Singh, who appeared in the court on behalf of the complainant.
“Despite refrained from carrying out illegal construction as well as change of use of a land falling in CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) area, Sharma went ahead and tweeted about Rs 5 lakh bribe demanded from him. But he never disclosed the name of the bribe seeker, which is an added criminality on part of the accused (hence police have added IPC Section 187),” she said.
The comedian in September had kicked up a controversy by alleging that he had been asked to pay a bribe of Rs 5 lakh by an official of BMC for construction of his premises in Versova, suburban Andheri.
He had also tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet on September 9.
‘I am paying Rs 15 cr income tax from last 5 year n still i have to pay Rs 5 lakhs bribe to BMC office for making my office @narendramodi (sic),’ Kapil had said in the tweet.
So far, he has not come forward to disclose the name of the bribe seeker despite Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis himself appealing him to do so, Singh said.
Another counsel for the complainant, Aditya Pratap Singh, said, “Though the accused admitted a bribe was demanded from him, he did not report the matter to ACB, thus infringing his statutory duty as a citizen under CrPC Section 39.”
“Besides, the accused carried out illegal construction and committed a cognisable offence under Section 52 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 in addition to violation of Section 15 of Environment Protection Act,1986 for going against CRZ Notification, 2011,” he said.
In October, Forest Department lodged an FIR against Sharma under Section 53(7) of Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act (MRTP), 1966, for alleged unauthorized construction at his other house in suburban Goregaon.
The Metropolitan Magistrate, while today ordering registration of the FIR against Sharma, asked the police to investigate the matter.
“It is necessary that such an offence is investigated by the police and the matter be sent to Versova police station. The concerned police station is directed to register an FIR immediately, complete the investigation and file a final report in this case. The matter is disposed off,” said the magistrate in the order.