Monday, February 02, 2015

Builders' body chief gets bail

NASHIK: A local court on Saturday granted bail to Builders' Association of India's Nashik chapter president Vilas Birari in connection with the liquor party organised on January 31 at the revamped Ozar airport terminal building.

Birari was in custody of the Dindori police for three days for the probe into the party organized to bid farewell to P Y Deshmukh, the chief engineer of the public works department, Nashik, on his retirement. After his three-day police custody ended, he was remanded in judicial custody. Following this, his lawyers moved the bail application.

Birari was charged with violating various sections of the Bombay Police Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act 1995.

The party was allegedly organized by Birari and three others on Saturday. Residents of the nearby Janori village had reported the matter to the police. The police, who raided the place, found several liquor bottles at the airport terminal.

Nashik state excise officials said permission for serving liquor had been sought for a stipulated time - from 9 pm to 11 pm. However, the party continued beyond 11 pm.

Earlier, the police had launched a suo motu inquiry into the case as no complaint was lodged and Birari and three others. During the course of investigation, the police found involvement of J S Jagtap, the manager of Dingore Decorators, in organizing the party.

The Dindori police said further investigation was on.

The police said the accused were booked for organising a public entertainment programme without the necessary permissions and creating nuisance in a public area by shouting under the influence of alcohol. Loud music was played beyond midnight, violating the directives of the Supreme Court with respect to hampering peace of a public place.

Outgoing district collector Vilas Patil had said he would propose disciplinary action against the PWD officials and employees involved in the late night party at Ozar Airport. The Ozar airport is in control of the PWD.

"There were some permissions in place and there were some violations as well. We are looking into the exact things and have asked the PWD as well as the police to look into the same to get the detailed information. The same would be forwarded to the additional chief secretary of PWD and the other senior officials. If there are others involved we will recommend disciplinary action against them," Patil had said.

A party held in the newly-built Ojhar airport on the night of January 31 is the subject of an investigation by the Nashik rural police. Police are checking if the party was in breach of the high-security status of the airport, which is located in the campus of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Police said the party, held on the lawns adjacent to the airstrip, was a send-off for a superintendent engineer of the public works department. The party was reportedly organised by the Builders' Association of India, Nashik branch.

The airstrip belongs to HAL and defense aircraft like SU-30 MKI and MiGs take off and land there.

Around 2 am that night, residents of local village Janori tried to stop the vehicles of those coming from the party. Among those who attended the party were officials of PWD, the builders' association and others, it is said. Next morning MP Harishchandra Chavan, who visited the airport, saw alcohol bottles and leftover food thrown in the open. After a call from the MP, superintendent of police (Nashik rural) Sanjay Mohite ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Speaking to dna, Mohite said, "We need to ascertain if there is any criminal violation of the law. The other aspect is the public venue. The airport is a public place and we need to ascertain if it can be used for such a purpose even if permissions were taken. Then there is the use of the DJ and loud music and we need to see if the Bombay Police Act was violated in this matter. In case there is any criminal violation, the police will take necessary action and in case there is any other flaw, it is for the administration to look into the matter. We are registering statements of the participants, organisers and villagers."

President of Builders Association of India (Nashik branch) Vilas Birari said that the party was not illegal and that they had taken permission from the state excise and PWD department to give a send-off to the superintendent engineer on his retirement. Birari added that no untoward incident had taken place during the party.

Namdeo Umbarsare, Sarpanch of Janori village, told dna that villagers had objected to the loud party with alcohol, dance and music, because the villagers had given their land for the purpose of the airport and not for such entertainment activities.

The Ojhar airport facility and its passenger terminal was built by the PWD department last year at a cost of Rs 84 crore.

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