The Maharashtra government has transferred the forest official investigating the charges of alleged destruction of mangrove plantation, against comedian Kapil Sharma. Former assistant conservator of forest, Makarand Ghokde, has been transferred on Tuesday night as a statistician at the office of the chief conservator of forest.
In September, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had registered a complaint against Kapil Sharma and actor Irfan Khan with charges of illegal construction against them. Later, Ghokde filed a report along with the Mumbai suburban collector, mentioning destruction of mangroves by illegal extension of property by the comedian. On September 18, Versova police station filed an FIR against Sharma under the Environment Protection Act.
Ghodke had further accused Kapil Sharma of illegal extension of property and charged him of violating the 2005 Bombay High Court order that prohibits construction within 50 m of the mangroves.
Dissatisfied by the government’s move to transfer the official, a NGO named Watchdog Foundation, questioned the government’s step, claiming reasons for the tranfer. However, active officials refused to comment on this matter.
Apart from handling 60 similar cases in SV Patel Nagar of Andheri, Ghodke had removed 3,500 encroachment from mangrove areas in Mumbai, including a few cases against local MPs and MLAs.