Monday, December 28, 2009

THREATENED FOR QUESTIONING ILLEGAL CLUB

THREATENED FOR QUESTIONING ILLEGAL CLUB
A 41-year-old engineer is being targeted for intimidation for questioning the existence of an illegal club opposite to his house off Bannerghatta Road. But the enginner has not yielded to the pressure tactics, and is taking his fight forward to get justice
PRAVEEN KUMAR


Manoj Shetty (41) a US-returned chemical engineer, and his wife are being targeted for intimidation — Cars in their compound damaged, debris and broken bottles dumped in front of their gate, threat calls — for questioning the existence of a club opposite to his house in Vijaya Bank Layout off Bannerghatta Main Road.
But these tactics have only strengthened the resolve of Shetty and his wife Maya, a chartered accountant, who found out that the club had no right to exist following an RTI enquiry. The SRS Nagar Club is not registered, nor does it have a licence.
The ‘crime’ committed by the Shetty couple was that they questioned the very functioning of the illegal club, following the ruckus — which included regular boozing openly in front of the club, criminal behaviour and illegal parking - that rose in decibels and action.
THE THREE-YEAR WAR
Complaints lodged with the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike confirmed that the ‘khatha’ of the site in which the club is functioning has not even been registered in the name of the claimant. Further, the club had neither received a sanction plan for the building nor a licence to operate.
Proceedings were soon initiated under Section 321 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, 1976 for the demolition of the illegal structure on the property.
The club authorities approached the High Court and got a stay on the demolition, which was vacated after the couple went in appeal. But despite the July order of the court to proceed with the demolition, the BBMP has been reluctant to act.
Though the Health Department of the Palike closed the club canteen in November, it has started operating again through the back door.
CRIME INC
Meanwhile, miscreants have upped the ante over the last fortnight by dumping waste and other debris in front of the couple’s gate, blocking the way.
Not satisfied, they followed it up with threatening calls at night and even tried to remove a concrete slab in the gateway.
They then proceeded to break the glass of the tenant’s car parked in the drive way.
“One miscreant tried to remove the stone slab in the gateway but did not succeed fully as we woke up and came outside. To replace the stone slab, the entire five stone slabs had to be replaced. They broke the glass of our tenant’s car thinking it was our car,” the couple said.
“We have now hired a security guard and put protective railings around the house,” they said.
With no action forthcoming from the BBMP, they have approached the Lok Ayukta.
“Since the club is still functioning in violation of the court and BBMP order, we have lodged a complaint with the Lok Ayukta. Additional Commissioner of Police M R Pujar has also assured to look into the matter. It is shocking that the club is still functioning, breaking the law. They have also put up an ad announcing New Year celebrations,” the Shetty couple added.
THE SILENT CLUB
Repeated attempts by Bangalore Mirror to get a response from the club management failed. There was also no response to the calls made to the phone numbers mentioned at the entrance of the club.
Though there is no guarantee that the couple may eventually triumph and force the club out of the precincts, the New Year certainly may have more shocks in store for the Shettys.

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