Maharashtra mulling over application of MCOCA to erring builders

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government will hold civic and police officials responsible for illegal constructions and is considering slapping Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against erring builders to curb the practice, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Tuesday.

Offences registered under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) are non-bailable.

Speaking during the question hour, BJP legislator Ashish Shelar said that while hearing a PIL on bogus documents being used by a Navi Mumbai-based builder for illegal construction, the Bombay High Court directed Navi Mumbai Police commissioner to appoint an officer to take cognisance of the issue.

“Although the issue was about Navi Mumbai, similar cases come up in Mumbai as well where builders forge documents and indulge in illegal constructions. Will the government appoint a deputy commissioner of police or above rank officer to keep a watch or to take cognisance of these complaints of illegal structures in Mumbai,” he questioned.

In his response, Fadnavis said the state government has adopted a new policy according to which a special officer will be appointed to keep a tab on illegal constructions.

“Developers know if they go ahead with an illegal construction and sell it to poor persons, the government will regularise it on humanitarian grounds. Thus, unless they are made to face a jail term for atleast two years, they won’t stop. So the government is now considering to book them under MCOCA,” Fadnavis said.

Citing an example, the Chief Minister said a developer in Digha area had reconstructed an illegal structure after it was demolished.

“On the top of it, he also made an agreement with the buyers that if the government did not regularise it, the buyers would be responsible for the illegal structure,” he added.

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