BMC may sue businessman who wrongly criticised it for open manhole in Mahalaxmi

BMC may sue businessman who wrongly criticised it for open manhole in Mahalaxmi
Samir Arora, who has over 4 lakh followers on Twitter, had wrongly blamed the BMC for an open manhole in which he fell last week (Main Image Representational)

In an unconventional move, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to sue renowned fund-manager Samir Arora after he incorrectly criticised the body for an open manhole in Mahalaxmi.

The incident

The mishap took place when Arora, the founder of Singapore-based financial advisory firm Helios Capital, had gone to meet with the executive director of Phoenix Mills last Thursday.

After his driver parked the car outside the office premises near Dr. E Moses Road, the hedge fund manager stepped out of the vehicle and accidentally fell in an open manhole.

Despite falling in chest deep water, Arora managed to hold on to the edge of the manhole till he was rescued by bystanders. He suffered minor bruises due to the fall and lost his phone.

The incident came to light after Arora’s friend Neeraj Batra tweeted about it.

“#BMC A dear friend fell in an open manhole yesterday outside Phoenix Mills…fortunately did not go down and was rescued. The public should throw some of these BMC guys down these open manholes,” he wrote.

Arora later responded to the tweet, thanking Neeraj and cautioning others.

“Thank you Neeraj. It was scary as hell (and smelly). Was within micro seconds of disappearing. Quick reflexes and shape of manhole gave me second life.

Guys and gals- be careful in life and remain safe. Yeh hai Mumbai meri jaan and was close to taking my jaan,” he wrote.

“If BMC finds my Samsung phone in the drain they can keep it with my compliments,” he added.

Given Arora’s popularity on the platform, the tweet garnered wide attention. In no time, scores of Twitterati jumped on the bandwagon and slammed the civic body for their lack of apathy.

Look before you blame, says BMC

Facing criticism from netizens isn’t exactly new for the BMC. However, unlike most cases where at least some part of the blame could potentially lie with the civic body, this entire incident was a case of misdirected blame.

In the aftermath, Phoenix group clarified that the manhole in question comes under premises of Laxmi Woollen Mills Estate on Famous Studios’ lane, where a contractor was conducting repairs without undertaking the necessary barricading.

The BMC later sent a notice to DM Shah, the director of the society, and is mulling over taking legal action against Arora and other Twitter users who incorrectly pinned the blame on them.

“That manhole was not under BMC. Still, without verification of facts, many people blame BMC. We have already issued a notice to concerned Private company about negligence and now we are going to file defamation case against Samir Arora and all Twitterati,” Devendra Jain, Assistant Commissioner of G-South ward told DNA.

“There is negligence from the society. The private contractor was doing some work but there was no barricading around it,” he added.

Incidentally, the development concerning a possible lawsuit drew a sarcastic response from Arora.

“This is to put on record that BMC is the best municipal corporation in the world. We are all very proud of BMC. I hope all Mumbaikars will join me in applauding the services delivered by this very great organisation,” he tweeted.

The society, meanwhile, has fixed the manhole cover.

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