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The Maharashtra government has informed the Bombay High Court that it had demolished fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi’s illegal bungalow built along the beach at Alibaug in adjoining Raigad district. The illegal building was demolished on December 5, the state told the court.

State government counsel PB Kakade told a bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice MS Karnik that it also intends to demolish 58 other private properties for which notices have been served. These were all constructed in violation of the state’s rules and coastal zone norms and their owners asked to raze all illegal structures within a week’s time.

Jewellery designer Nirav Modi is accused of perpetrating a $1.8 billion fraud on public sector banks and has been on the run since February. The CBI has sought Interpol help to locate him.

In an affidavit filed in the court, the state said that the owners of around 61 such illegal private structures had managed to get stay orders on demolition from local civil courts. However, it was planning to initiate legal action to get the stay orders lifted.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by an activist, Surendra Dhavale who contended that since there were severe violations, the court direct the authorities to demolish all unauthorised constructions “within the low and high tide areas” in several villages in Alibaug.The petition n said there are 175 such private residences in CRZ areas in the belonging to several “wealthy persons, including Modi, and several businessmen and film actors”.

The matter is now scheduled for December 20

—India Legal Bureau

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