The Maharashtra District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered a former Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) and two other functionaries of a housing society to pay Rs 9 lakh as compensation for denying the complainant possession of an apartment that he had booked nearly 20 years ago.
The forum said in its order that the trio must pay the complainant Rs 7 lakh for causing delay in handing the possession of the apartment and Rs 2 lakh for causing him mental agony. The complainant, a serving policeman, had booked a 525 square feet apartment of Shanti Sagar Police Co-Operative Housing Society in Mahim in 1997.
The society was established for the welfare of police personnel and was allotted a plot to build 14 buildings but served a notice from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority. Subsequently, construction on only 25 per cent of the plot was approved, but it never began.
Meanwhile, the DCP, who was the chief promoter of the project, collected Rs 3.28 lakh from the complainant, including maintenance fee for a year. The complainant had been sanctioned the loan in 2002 by the Mumbai District Central Co-operative Bank, which was later taken over by Indian Bank and also made party to the petition.
Out of the amount, the bank paid Rs 1.6 lakh to the DCP and the society’s secretary. The complainant was then informed that 10 apartments, including his, had been allotted to VIPs. The complainant was allotted another apartment.
Even as construction of the building continued to be delayed, money was being deducted every month towards payment of the loan. The complainant alleged that the banks did not “make any efforts to see the progress of the construction and he blindly paid Rs.1,60,000”. He then sought refund of Rs 4.8 lakh or that his apartment be returned.
The forum noted that the complainant had made 95 per cent of the payment and the DCP was “duty-bound to materialise the construction project.” The complainant had also stated in his petition that the DCP had been arrested for committing fraud in connection with the same project.