THE STATE Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has refused to admit a complaint filed by the kin of retired IPS officer and former Maharashtra DGP Dr Parvinder Pasricha regarding possession of three flats booked by them. Kamal Pasricha, the wife of the former IPS officer, along with her mother Kuldip Kaur, approached the commission against a Mumbai-based builder, Ackruti Nirman Pvt Ltd, claiming ‘deficiency in service and unfair trade practice’.
According to the complaint, three different flats were booked in 1999 from the builder’s project in Worli by the complainants. The order states that Pasricha was in government service in 1999 and his wife was engaged in the business of publication. They had submitted before the commission that they were ‘in need of a big house to host guests, visitors and common public’ and accordingly, booked three flats in the building of the opponent (Ackruti Nirman).
The three flats—two measuring 1400 sq ft and one measuring 1100 sq ft — were booked in the names of Pasricha, his wife and mother-in-law. Allotment letters, too, were executed in January 1999 for the three flats.
“The complainants wanted to convert all three flats into one single larger unit. According to the complainants, aggregate consideration of flat no. 701 was fixed at Rs 35 lakh and the complainants on booking of the flat had paid Rs 35,000. The opponents have issued valid receipt for the same. On 15/01/1999, complainant — Mrs Kamal Parvinder Pasricha had paid composite amount of Rs 62,500 towards flat nos. 601 & 602. Thus, complainants paid total amount of Rs 97,500 for three flats in the year 1999,” the order states.
Despite correspondence, the possession of the flats was not given to them, the complaint claimed. It sought directions to the builders to ‘rectify the defects’ and hand over possession of the flat with occupation certificate, for execution of proper agreements for sale as well as compensation and costs. The builders through their attorney submitted before the commission that there was ‘gross abuse of process of law’ by the complainants. They also told the commission that Pasricha had ‘coerced’ them into issuing allotment letters to him and his family members by ‘paying peanuts money so that opponents cannot back out from promise once the work is done’. They also submitted that allotment letters were issued by depositing only Rs 1 lakh. He further said the Pasrichas were not ‘bonafide flat purchasers’ to be covered under the definition of ‘consumer’ of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, since they had bought the flats as investment to make a commercial profit.
The commission observed that the three flats were booked in 1999 by paying ‘Rs 97,500 as earnest money’.
“Since 1999, no diligent steps were taken for getting possession of the booked flats. During the service period, the complainants were staying in government quarters allotted to complainant-Dr.P S Pasricha. It is informed that at present the complainants are staying in own residential house…. It prima facie appears that the complainants have not followed payment schedule. Nothing is on record to indicate that they tried to give the remaining payment to the opponent,” the commission said in its order passed recently. “…The complainants (Pasrichas) booked three big flats. They booked more than one unit of residential premises…we are of the view that it amounts to booking of such premises for investment/commercial purpose. As a result, we are not inclined to admit the consumer complaints,” the commission further said.
When contacted, Pasricha said: “We had booked the flats over 19 years ago. Though they were in three in number, they were smaller units which we wanted to convert into a single duplex so that the entire family including my mother-in-law could stay together. We had filed the complaint in 1999 but we did not pursue the matter after a settlement was reached.” Vimal Shah, the managing director of Akruti Nirman, refused to comment.