Kapil Sharma tweet row: Now police complaints filed against Comedy Nights host
The row over comedian Kapil Sharma's tweet refuses to die down — four days after he made allegations of being approached by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation officials for a bribe, in exchange for giving the requisite permissions to build his office space.
Since then, the Comedy Nights TV show host has found himself at the centre of a storm of accusations of illegal construction and unauthorised alterations to his properties in Mumbai.
On 12 September, Monday, Firstpost published an extensive report of just all the legal and political trouble that was now staring Sharma in the eye, thanks to his tweet.
Among them was a possible police case — for illegal alterations to his ninth floor apartment at the DLH Enclave in Oshiwara (incidentally actor Irrfan Khan, who owns a fifth storey apartment in the same high rise has also been sent a notice for the same infraction), an investigation by the Forest Department into whether or not Sharma destroyed protected mangroves to make unauthorised additions to his bungalow in Versova, action from political parties like the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena which insisted that Sharma reveal the names of the officials who seemingly approached him for a bribe and a (potentially) sizeable bill from the BMC for carrying out the demolition work of all the illegal construction at his bungalow.
You can read the full report and all the details of the possible actions that were being considered against Kapil Sharma here: How one tweet could cost the popular comedian a whole lot of trouble.
On Tuesday, 13 September, there was more bad news for Sharma.
A police case was filed against the actor/comedian by the BMC, under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, reported The Indian Express. The Oshiwara Police will be calling Sharma in for questioning on the basis of the complaint. Irrfan Khan has also been named in the same complaint. As per a Times of India story, a jail sentence between one month to three years could result from a guilty conviction under these charges.
A Mumbai Mirror report dated 13 September stated that Sharma was no longer the owner of the Goregaon apartment — he is believed to have sold the property a few months ago. Under the law, however, the complaint is still filed with his name since the illegal construction was carried out before Sharma sold the flat.
In the meantime, officials from the Mangrove Protection Cell and the state Revenue Department visited the Versova Creek area where Kapil Sharma's bungalow is located and found evidence that the comedian's illegal extensions had destroyed mangroves.
A notice will now be issued to Sharma in this regard.
Once again, Sharma isn't the only one who will be served the notice — other homeowners in the area have also been issued similar notices, and they have together been held responsible for "illegally extending gardens and compound areas, dumping debris and destroying mangroves".
Fifty bungalows are reportedly under the scanner at the moment, and Sharma's neighbours are apparently not a happy lot. India Today quoted one of the homeowners in the area as saying: "A single tweet by Kapil is ruining our lives. Because of his tweet, now (this) inquiry is initiated."
Even as civic officials pursued action against Sharma, the political din around him escalated as well.
The MNS, which had threatened action against Sharma in the light of his tweet, lodged a police complaint against the comedian on Monday.
NDTV reported that the MNS' group leader in the BMC, Sandeep Deshpande, filed a complaint against Sharma at Versova police station. Th complaint states that BMC officials are public servants and if they have deanded a bribe, it amounts to a criminal offence. The complaint adds that in this context, it is Sharma's responsibility as a citizen to name the guilty officials.
"In this case, Sharma did not act as a responsible citizen and failed to live up to his duty. Therefore, I have demanded the police officials to go into the merits of my complaint, convert it into an FIR and call him for further investigation," the MNS' Sandeep Deshpande told PTI.
Kapil Sharma has not commented on the issue after his tweets of 9 September. In an official statement released to the press, he merely said: "My space is on the entertainment platform and not on the news platform. I am not a par of any political organisation, nor do I intend to be (sic). I am a law abiding individual and shall act as legally advised. This was my anger against corruption which I expressed on Twitter."