The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued a bailable warrant against the Managing Director of Mantri Techzone, Sushil Kumar Mantri. The warrant was issued by Justice Jawad Rahim on Thursday after Mantri failed to appear before the tribunal in a matter regarding the maintenance of a buffer zone around the Agara and Bellandur Lakes in Bengaluru.
The real estate developer had previously encroached upon the Bellandur Lake and its surrounding wetlands. The NGT had consequently directed the company to restore 3 acres and 10 guntas of land at its own cost and return it to the authorities. Failing to comply with these orders, the company was fined Rs 5 lakh and asked to explain its failure to file a compliance report by March 20.
Counsel for Mantri had issued a plea for adjournment which was struck down by the bench. The Namma Bengaluru Foundation objected to the deferment of the hearing.
â€śWe welcome NGTâ€™s direction, which was much needed as the MD of Mantri Techzone has so far been dodging the court in spite of multiple directions. This is a strong message to all builders and contractors that they must work within the law and respect the law of the land. We, the citizens of Bengaluru, will continue our fight to hold them accountable,â€ť said Sridhar Pabbisetty, CEO of the Namma Bengaluru Foundation.
The tribunal fixed May 2 as the date for the next hearing.
On May 4, 2016, the principal bench of the NGT had directed the maintenance of a buffer zone and green belt of 75 metres for lakes and 50 metres, 35 metres, and 25 metres, for primary, secondary, and tertiary storm water drains respectively.
In September 2017, the NGT had established a five-member team to inspect violations on site. It found that none of the tribunalâ€™s orders were followed, including on the site of the Bellandur Lake.