Finally, the Independent Corporator who went on putting hoarding spree in Nagpur illegally has been booked by police. Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has registered a complaint with Gittikhadan Police Station against the Corporator. Municipal Commissioner Shyam Wardhane had ordered Mangalwari Zone of NMC to file an FIR in this connection.
The Independent Corporator, for hogging undue self-publicity, had put up dozens of hoardings at many places including Zingabai Takli and Gorewada in West Nagpur by violating all rules and regulations and keeping High Court orders at bay. The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court, giving its ruling over a PIL filed two years ago, had ordered NMC and police to act tough against those who erect illegal hoardings and banners for self-propaganda. Subsequently, Dinesh Naidu of Parivartan organization, who had filed the PIL, sent photographs of illegal hoardings to Municipal Commissioner Wardhane on his Whatsapp. Armed with the photographs, Wardhane immediately ordered Mangalwari Zone Assistant Commissioner Prakash Varade to file an FIR against the Independent Corporator.
However, according to sources, the illegal hoardings and the FIR have exposed another darker side of episode. The Assistant Commissioner Varade, obviously in hand-in-glove with the Independent Corporator, was hesitating action against the illegal hoardings despite Commissioner ordering filing of FIR twice within 48 hours. Varade was ostensibly delaying action in this connection apparently for some naked reasons. Ultimately, after 4-5 days, Varade buckled when the pressure started mounting and the FIR was lodged and also seized the hoardings. The Independent Corporator had put up some religious hoardings with his photograph without taking permission from NMC, said the sources.
According to an RTI activist, who is found roaming in NMC all the time, the hoarding episode has exposed the dirty affairs being run in the civic body and has also triggered a talk on internal bickering between the higher officials. The talk is going on that the NMC’s Additional Commissioner and Prakash Varade hail from a same town and are in good terms with each other but not with Municipal Commissioner. The hesitation on the part of Varade to follow orders of Wardhane in connection with the illegal hoardings had murkier colours. The ill-thinking of both the Additional Commissioner and Varade was that the petitioner should submit the photographs of illegal hoardings in the High Court during the next hearing (July 15) and then the Court would take it as contempt of its orders. And possibly punish the Municipal Commissioner for not following the orders. A punishment to the top NMC boss could have satiated the sadistic pleasure of both the officials hence the hesitation in taking action against the Independent Corporator for putting hoardings illegally. But the Municipal Commissioner put his foot down and warned Varade of stringent action if the FIR was not lodged, said the RTI activist.