Shahrukh Khan's Mannat' in legal trouble

Actor Shahrukh Khan is once again in the thick of controversy. After several resident organisations filed numerous complaints against a ramp outside his Bandstand bungalow, Mannat, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) chief on Tuesday instructed his team to "initiate action" against the ramp.

The gossip is that King Khan apparently has a ramp outside his bungalow, to park his vanity van. However, the residents, under the hood of Watchdog Foundation, have exhibited agony over it, as the ramp stands on public property and has blocked access to the stairs leading to Mount Mary Church from Bandstand.

The issue was first brought up last September. However, the BMC paid no heed to the complaint. "All we heard from the civic ward office was that they did not have the cadastral survey number of Mannat and hence could not initiate action," said advocate Godfrey Pimenta, a trustee of Watchdog Foundation. "We were appalled by this response, which we received recently under the Right to Information Act."

Only recently, the residents sent a fresh complaint to municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte and also to the Chief Minister of the State, demanding that the ramp be demolished before 8th September, this year. As if this wasn’t it, on Independence Day, the residents carried out a silent protest outside Mannat. They also threatened criminal action if officers designated to initiate action did nothing.

“The authorities are shying away from taking action against Shahrukh since he has connections in the right places. Why should we have double standards for illegal constructions — one for Campa Cola and another for an actor?" the citizens asked when writing to the municipal commissioner on August 14, a day before the protest march.

In light of the entire incident, Sitaram Kunte wrote to assistant municipal commissioner of H-West Ward and the deputy municipal commissioner of the area asking for action.

"I will send my team of engineers to inspect the site and take necessary action. We will have to see if permissions have been granted to construct any structure or ramp on the spot," said Sapkale. A senior official in the ward explained that permission for constructing a ramp to park a vehicle is never given by the BMC. "It is undeniably blocking access to the stairs partially. Such obstructions are not allowed," said the senior official.

Meanwhile, a source close to the actor says, “SRK’s vanity van is parked on a property which belongs to Mannat and it is never parked on the road. The actor has nothing to do with it. In fact, the ramp was created earlier on, even before SRK purchased the bungalow.”

The Bollywood star, however, is unavailable for comment. What happens next, only time will tell.