Futala Lake – the most popular hangout of Nagpur and favorite among different generations has gained notoriety these days, thanks to the thriving criminal elements during the dark hours. The fact became obvious on Sunday night when an eatery owner was savagely beaten by a gang of 25-30 goons on over old business related issue. The incidence, police said, took place on Sunday night between 11.30 pm to 11.45 pm under the jurisdiction of Ambazari police station.
However, initial reports suggested the cops at Ambazari police station were reluctant to register the report. Later with the intervention of some media men, the case was registered and few goons including those who work at parking area have been arrested.
Purushottam alias Nanabhau Bapurao Ghormade (48), a resident of Nelco Society, near Subhash Nagar, Pratap Nagar, owns Goli Vada Pav Centre, a fast food corner and an ice-cream parlour. While Nanabhau was preparing to call it a day, accused Mukesh Dilip Chowdhary (25), a resident near Futala lake, Gittikhadan, along with 25-30 of his accomplices entered his shop and started threatening him to vacant the place as soon as possible.
When Nanabhau protested, the goons beat him black and blue and broke fridge, ovens, billing token machine and other material and caused a loss of Rs 7 to 8 lakh. A police team, patrolling in the area, noticed the chaos in the area and rushed to the spot. Although cops succeeded in arresting two goons, but others managed to escape. Identities of the arrested goons were not known till filing of the report. Nanabhau Ghormade, in his complaint said that on the orders of Shailen Mehta, the main accused Mukesh Chowdhary had threatened him to vacant the place. It is to be noted that Mukesh Chowdhary is younger brother of a ex-corporator Kamlesh Chowdhary. Ambazari police are further investigating the case.
The Futala Lake Welfare Association – a group of shop owners has demanded immediate action in this case and threatened to launch agitation if the concerned contractor is not removed soon.
Advocate Ritesh Kalra who has been representing the association over the series of issues that have cropped up recently was also present at the time of attack. He said, “All the food kiosks have been shut down to protest against the incident. Unless the action is taken against the accused, the shop will remain closed.”
Kalra told Nagpur Today that the concerned development contractor Sell Ads has defrauded with the shop owners by sub-leasing the space meant for parking and garden to the food kiosk owners who have invested lakhs of rupees into the business. “The incident came to light when the shop operators received notices of Nagpur Improvement Trust questioning the legality of their food kiosks as it was allegedly constructed on the area reserved for parking. This shocked the food kiosk owners as Sell Ads had sub-let the space without apprising them of any such information. Now after this incident we would not keep quiet unless NIT removed concerned contractor. The entire families coming at Futala are under threat. We have also met the Commissioner of Police KK Pathak in this regard.” he added.
CP orders probe
When Nagpur Today contacted Commissioner of Police KK Pathak, he confirmed the delegation met him in this regard. He said, “The offense has already been registered and even few have been arrested. I have to seek more details into the matter before I comment anything in this regard. When he was informed that the association has been alleging the hooliganism by the contractor Sell Ads’ people as it has been the regular feature during night time at Futala Lake, Pathak said, “I have asked the DCP to look into the matter and have sought the investigation into the matter. More updates were yet to come in this regard after the DCP conducted the inquiry.”
Old dispute : DCP
DCP, Zone-1 Kailash Kanse told Nagpur Today that the attack was the outcome of the internal issues between the food kiosk owners and the contractor for over couple of months. “There was some parking issue and this has ignited the tension. We had earlier sent the letter to the NIT appraising it of the current dispute but it did not pay any heed. This time also we have sent the letter to the authority to intervene into the matter and resolve it at the earliest,” Kanse added.
NIT’s SE turns ignorant
However NIT Superintending Engineer SH Gujjalwar turned ignorant towards the matter when Nagpur Today sought information from him in this regard. He even went on to claim otherwise. Gujjalwar said, “The contract has been awarded to Sell Ads for a period of 5 years and no shop has surfaced on the area defined for parking or garden.”
Surprisingly when Nagpur Today told him that NIT itself had issued notices to the food kiosk owners that the shops have been built on parking area, Gujjalwar said, “There is the defined parking area but I will have to check with the executive engineer as he is handling the things. The arrangement has been made for 5 years and whatever NIT will earn half of it will be shared with Punjabrao Krishi Vidyapeeth as it is their land.”
All efforts to reach out to NIT Chairman Praveen Darade failed as the calls to his cell phone went unresponded.
Tiff regular feather at Futala
It is to be mentioned that a tiff between shop owners and owner of Sell Ads agency were taking place since past few months regarding the space in Futala lake.
According to information, Shailen Mehta and Pankaj Rai, owners of Sells Ad Agency got a tender of Futala lake a few years ago. Shailen and Pankaj then issued co-tenders to open eatery shops in the premises. The two recovered a rent of Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 per month from the eatery owners. The owners extended their shops in the area allotted for parking and garden. In February 2013, NIT issued notice to all the shop owners to remove the encroachments in the area. Baffled with this development, they tried to contact Shailen and Pankaj who turned Nelson’s eye in this matter.
Through RTI Act, Futala Lake Welfare Association members acquired information regarding the tender and were shocked to learn that Shailen and Pankaj have allotted the parking and garden area to the businessmen and that the extended shops would be considered illegal. The Association members lodged a complaint with Ambazari police station who then gave an No Objection Certificate to them.
The association, in a meeting, decided to stop the rent of these shops until they get answers from Shailen and Pankaj. Since no rent was sent to the agency, they issued notice to all owners demanding reasons for no payment of rent. In reply to this, the Association also issued a notice. The notice game continued for few more days but no result came out of it.
The Association members suspect the involvement of Shailen and Pankaj in the attack on Nanabhau Ghormade on Sunday night. They claim that the attack could be a fall out of the tiff between them.
Will sort out the issue : Shailen Mehta
Denying any such allegation that Sell Ads has rented the parking space to run the food kiosks, the agency’s partner Shailen Mehta said that the notices from NIT were issued as the food kiosk owners have developed illegal structures over their space. “There has been no payment of rent and issue has been going on for the past six months. We have asked NIT to sort this out at the earliest.”