The Manikpur police in Vasai West, who operate out of the station’s premises at the Moti Niwas Co-operative Housing Society, have not paid rent to landlord Nandkumar Kanhaiyalal Jain since 1991. According to Jain, the verbally agreed to lease was supposed to last only for six months. Multiple letters to the Mantralaya and police department in the past 29 years have had zero effect on the authorities, Jain said.
According to Jain, in 1991, his father was convinced by a police inspector, SR Shinde, and a local politician to give his six galas (shops) on the ground floor of the housing society to run the police station for six-seven months. He was promised housing rent as per the government’s rate. “Initially my father was not ready but after the intervention of a local politician, he agreed on July 17, 1991, to give the six galas to start the Manikpur police station. Shinde, who worked in the establishment department in the force, had been trying to convince my father since 1988. The possession of the property was given to Shinde on August 28, 1991, to run a police station,” Jain told mid-day.
“It’s always good to give property on rent than to keep it shut. We expected to get it back after six months but it was not vacated as per the verbal promise given to my father. Instead, a senior government official inaugurated the Manikpur police station on January 28, 1992,” recalled Jain, 55, who is a real estate developer in Vasai.
“This alarmed my father and he tried his best to get the property back but could not succeed. If the law enforcers fail to fulfil their commitments, whom we should approach for justice?” he said.
“The collective rent of the six galas was R2,768 per month for an area of nearly 3,000 sqft. Had we given them to a bank, the monthly rent could have been fixed as per R15 per sqft,” he said. Jain’s father, Kanhaiyalal, never accepted the rent as it was too meagre. “We wanted the property back instead of monthly rent but the police failed to keep their promise. I have not approached the court as it takes long time to get an order. I sent them legal notices and also wrote to the chief secretary and Thane Collector in 2007 but never received a response. I feel helpless,” Jain said.
The six galas are owned by Jain, his mother Shantibai, elder brother, Pravinkumar and Pravinkumar’s wife Omlata.
The current market rate of the property is around R15,000 per sqft. “We had given the property for a social cause but we are being mentally harassed. We want our property back at the earliest as our children want to do business. They are forced to take property on rent to run their offices.”
Approaching the cops directly hasn’t helped Jain either. “They don’t refuse to vacate but never vacate it either. For each gala I can get rent of R30,000 per month.”
The housing society’s secretary Raghuvaran Kaithavalappin told mid-day that the maintenance of the six shops has also been pending. “A maintenance bill of Rs 24.37 lakh till August 31 for the six galas on the ground floor from where Manikpur police station runs has been pending for years.”
“The municipal staff has also pasted notices on these properties over pending house tax,” Kaithavalappin added.
The secretary also added that the police use the park meant for residents. “All confiscated properties are stored in the park. Where will senior citizens walk and children play? Police have not been clearing the mess for years. The situation becomes dangerous during monsoon as it becomes a safe haven for snakes. We are scared to cross the area. The mess also allows rodents to thrive,” Kaithavalappin added.
Police are also allegedly using the washrooms meant for shopkeepers on the ground floor as their own. As a result, other shopkeepers are left with nowhere to go, Kaithavalappin said. The society also had to contend with commotions as accused are kept in the lock-up. This had stopped after the society protested. “The women in our building are scared about emerging outside in the evening as there are several criminals, their relatives and friends thronging the police station,” Kaithavalappin said.
Additional Commissioner of Police, Mira Bhayandar Vasai Virar (MBVV), S Jaykumar, said, “It is true that the police station is on a rented property. We will verify its legal status and do the needful to sort out the issue soon.”
A source at Manikpur police station told mid-day, “Kanhaiyalal Jain, the owner of the property Manikpur police station is running out of in Vasai, was offered rent as per government rates but he refused to accept it. He wants his property back and the decision will be taken by senior officials.”