Mumbai, May 6 (IANS): A right to information activist Saturday raised questions whether cricketer Sachin Tendulkar had paid the penalty imposed on him last year for illegally occupying his new bungalow in Bandra here without obtaining the necessary clearances.
Activist Anil Galgali, who was denied details on the issue by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), claimed that either Tendulkar had not paid the full fine, or he had been given partial remission by the civic agency.
"Now, they (officials) are scared that if this matter becomes public, they could face action, or other violators could treat this case as a precedent and demand concessions," Galgali, who sought the information under the transparency law, told IANS.
Civic agency officials, when contacted by IANS, declined to comment on the issue. Tendulkar has just been nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
Galgali contended that if Tendulkar had indeed paid the penalty, then it was public money and its information could be shared with him under the Right To Information (RTI) law.
"It is strange that when I sought information on this (penalty), the BMC took refuge under RTI Section 11(1) and refused to divulge the amount of the fine it collected," Galgali said.
Responding to Galgali's RTI query a few weeks ago, the BMC said that it contacted Tendulkar for his clearance but he declined to share the information with the applicant.
"In Sachin Tendulkar's case, he has objected to information pertaining to his home being revealed to a third party under the RTI Act," Galgali said, quoting a BMC communication he received.
Galgali accused the BMC officials of violating the RTI Act by stonewalling queries pertaining to a public document in which penalties have been imposed and paid for the cricketer's illegal occupancy of the five-storeyed bungalow at 19-A, Perry Cross Road, in Bandra.
Tendulkar and his family, in a traditional 'grihapravesh' ceremony, occupied the new Bandra bungalow Sep 28, 2011 on the auspicious Navratri day without getting the mandatory occupation certificate, which raised a controversy.
Prior to moving into the new house, Tendulkar had spent his early childhood in Sahitya Sahawas Colony in Bandra east and later honed his batting skills in the famous Shivaji Park grounds when he lived in Dadar.
After scouting around all over Mumbai, Tendulkar zeroed in on and purchased the Bandra west property to construct his 'dream home' a few years ago.
Estimated to have cost around Rs.39 crore, he built it up from scratch before finally moving in last September.
A couple of years ago, he had sought easing of certain norms to enable him construct a private gym in his bungalow which was rejected by the civic authorities.
The Bandra bungalow is said to comprise double level basement parking for nearly four dozen vehicles. One floor serves as his personal museum, displaying the hundreds of medals, cups, honours, citations and other rewards he won during his two-decades-plus cricket career.