Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation’s scam of levying tax on illegal constructions on government and wetlands
In 2018, MBMC had decided not to levy a tax on unauthorized constructions on Mangroves, wetlands and CRZ 1 and also to levy a tax on unauthorized constructions on government lands without the consent of the government department. However, citing the order of the Deputy Commissioner issued in December 2019, a large number of illegal constructions in the above areas are being taxed. Shockingly, the Deputy Commissioner on whose order these illegal structures are being taxed had been transferred in March 2019. Then, how did the order come with his signature after 10 months? Even, the Deputy Commissioner himself has expressed doubts on the signature and raises the question. Therefore, the corporation’s tax assessment scam has been exposed.
Land Mafias are active in Mira Bhayandar. They encroach government lands in mangroves, CRZ 1, and Wetlands in large scale by illegal filling with debris and construction. Instead of taking concrete action on these fill-up constructions, municipal officials-politicians and local corporators ignored it. Instead, these constructions are protected by sending property taxes, water and electricity bills, and other civic amenities. They grab government lands by harming the environment.
What’s the matter
In this case, the then Additional Commissioner Madhav Kusekar, after hearing the necessary legal references, had decided not to levy a tax on unauthorized constructions. In this connection, Vijay Kumar Mhasal, who was then Deputy Commissioner, had informed the written order on December 27, 2018, to all the 6 Ward Officers, Tax and Town Planning Department about it. After that, on March 5, 2019, Mhasal was transferred.
However, despite the order, the ward authorities are levying taxes on such illegal constructions. While the tax inspectors, ward officers who were violating the order, were being supported. However, another order dated December 14, 2019, came to light from the tax department. The order also said the slums come up before January 1, 2011, should be taxed after checking its construction period.
In the order, it seems that Mhasal has signed the order dated December 14, 2019. If he was transferred in March 2019, then who had signed the order after 10 months of his transferred. The number of the year printed on this order has corrected with a pen.
When contacted, Mhasal, currently deputed in Thane Municipal Corporation, also denied that he has signed the order. “How can I sign an order in December 2019, when I was transferred in March 2019?” he exclaimed.
Not new thing
This is not the new thing by the tax department in MBMC. If investigated properly there are many tax scams. Besides, unauthorized constructions and slums are being taxed inappropriately. As per the sources, brokers are also being active in the tax department.
Therefore, it is evident from the documents that a large number of unauthorized constructions have been levied on Mangroves, Wetlands and CRZ 1 as well as on the government lands by issuing fake orders with fake signatures or dates. The evidence attached to the tax assessment also said to be insufficient and bogus. Therefore, there should be a thorough investigation of this scam.
However, when contacted in the tax department, the source on an anonymous condition said, “The date mentioned in the order has misprinted.”
Nevertheless, Circle Officer, Bhayandar, had issued a letter dated 16/03/2017 addressing PWD officer, Executive Engineer (Water Supply) and all the ward officers and warned them about water, electricity and tax bills.