The Bombay High Court on Monday extended till January 13 the temporary protection granted to actor Sonu Sood against coercive action by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for allegedly converting his residential building into a hotel without permission, PTI reported.
The actor had approached the High Court last week to challenge the civic body’s notice to him and a civil court’s dismissal of his petition to stay that notice in December. The court had, however, given him three weeks to file an appeal.
Sood’s advocate Amogh Singh said that he had not carried out any illegal construction at the Shakti Sagar building in Juhu. “The petitioner has not made any changes in the building that warrant permission from the BMC,” Singh was quoted as saying by the news agency. “Only those changes that are allowed under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act have been done.”
The BMC’s lawyer Anik Sakhare, on the other hand, insisted that Sood had been making unauthorised changes to the building. “A hotel with 24 rooms is being run in the six-storey residential building,” he said. “The BMC has taken demolition action on the property twice...once in 2018 and then in February 2020. But, still the illegal construction is on.” He also informed the court about the police complaint filed against Sood by the BMC.
Justice Prithviraj Chavan asked Sood’s lawyer if the actor was running a hotel without licence. “You should come to the court with clean hands,” the judge said, according to PTI. “If not, then you will have to face consequences.”
Sood’s lawyer denied this and said that he had been running a “a residential hotel” where he rented out flats to people. He sought interim protection for Sood, while the BMC asked for more time to respond to the actor’s petition.
The judge, then, adjourned hearing in the case till January 13, said, “The order passed by the lower court shall continue till then,” he said.
The BMC had filed a police complaint against Sood last week. The civic body said that its officials found unauthorised changes being made to the building, even after it sent a notice to the actor in October. The civic body had in October given the actor a month’s time to restore the changes in the property.
Amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown, Sood had earned praise for helping a number of migrant workers attempting to reach their hometowns. He was credited for making transport arrangements for over hundreds of migrant workers stranded in Mumbai because of the nationwide lockdown.
On June 7, the actor met Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at his residence in Mumbai, on the same day Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut accused him of “enacting a script by the Bharatiya Janata Party” to show the state government in a bad light.