Coming out in support of comedian Kapil Sharma, who is facing the ire of MNS and Shiv Sena over his bribery charges against BMC officials, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam today said the artiste was being “victimised” to divert attention from the issue of graft, and urged the Governor to intervene in the matter.
Kapil had recently tweeted that he had been asked to pay a bribe of Rs 5 lakh by an official of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) which, in turn, claimed that the actor had carried out “illegal construction” at his office for which a notice had been served to him two months ago.
Nirupam, the Mumbai Congress chief, in a letter written to Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, alleged that there were several illegal constructions linked to political parties in the city, including the CM’s bungalow, BJP head office at Nariman Point and most shakhas (branch offices) of Shiv Sena.
He also urged the Chief Minister to take action in this regard.
“In an attempt to divert attention from the main issue of bribery, the BJP, Shiv Sena and MNS have accused Mr Sharma of illegal works in his office and threatened him with demolition and other drastic actions. I personally believe the municipal authority has all the right to take action against any illegal structure in Mumbai,” Nirupam said.
“But in this case, it seems they have targeted Mr Kapil Sharma, a whistleblower, since he is an artiste and a soft target, with the sole intention of suppressing the bribery issue. It is a well known fact that in Mumbai, common man cannot get any work done without paying bribes,” he said.
The former Lok Sabha MP also raised the issue of illegal constructions not only in Mumbai, but across the state, and sought action against such structures.
“The long list of illegal constructions are not as per the approved plans. If at all the CM wants to take a high moral ground, he should take action against all illegal constructions rather than targeting a whistleblower which will only result in suppression of truth,” Nirupam said. The Congress leader said the CM had regularised hundreds of illegal constructions across Maharashtra recently and therefore, he has no moral right to speak on the matter.
“The reaction of the government and Shiv Sena-BJP smacks of a conspiracy to target and victimise Kapil Sharma as a defence mechanism to suppress the issue of bribery since they are scared of being exposed,” Nirupam said.
In the letter, Nirupam also urged the Governor to direct Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to initiate either an inquiry by Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) or a judicial probe into the charges made by the artiste.
“Your Excellency is requested to kindly intervene in the matter and direct the Chief Minister to institute an inquiry by the ACB or a judicial enquiry into the charges of bribery and corruption in order to cleanse the BMC of corrupt practices,” he said.
Earlier today, the Raj Thackeray-led MNS filed a complaint against Kapil for keeping mum on his allegation that civic officials had demanded money from him, and violation of building norms by him. Following Kapil’s tweets, the Shiv Sena had dared him to name the bribe seeker.
In an apparent attempt to cap the controversy from escalating, the comedian-actor had said that he did not seek to blame any political party.