More than six years after several home buyers invested in a real estate project on Mira Road and paid above Rs 30 crore as advance to the builders, they filed a complaint with the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority on October 2 demanding compensation and completion of the project at the earliest. The buyers have alleged that owing to an ongoing internal dispute between directors of the companies, the construction has been stalled since 2013 and an FIR was registered against three of the directors in August.
According to the buyers, the project, Tanvi Eminence, is divided in two phases with around 500 flats. It was announced in 2010 and the builders had promised to deliver the flats by 2016. Around 150 buyers have now formed a group and one of them, Nilesh Thakkar, who had booked a flat in 2012 said while the builders had promised to give possession of the flats in phase I in 2015 and phase II in 2016, they had given the date of completion as 2021 in their application for registration with the RERA.
“They have constructed till the 10th floor in phase I and up to 7th floor in phase II. But in the last four-five years, construction has come to a standstill. Although they had promised to give us possession of the flats latest by 2016, they still haven’t completed most of the construction,” Thakkar said. He alleged that many of the buyers have only received an allotment letter and have not been registered. “In our complaint to the RERA, we have demanded that the builders give us compensation because of the delay and draft registration agreements with all of us. We are also planning to approach the Bombay High Court for the same,” he said. Thakkar added that the interruption in construction is because of an ongoing dispute between the directors of the companies.
In August, the buyers approached the Kashimira police to file a complaint against the builders. “Since January, we have conducted eight meetings to convince them to restart the construction. But they were not willing to commit to a date when the flats can be handed over to us. We approached the Kashimira police but they, too, were supporting the builders. In the last meeting, we ended up having an argument with the director of the company, Dayabhai Sutariya, who owns majority of the stake in the project. He simply told us to go to court,” said Thakkar. He alleged that the police misbehaved with the buyers and protected the builders, instead of questioning them.
Another buyer, Mamta Tiwari, said each of them had paid an advance of Rs 22 to 25 lakhs to the builders at the time of booking the flats and most of them are now paying off their loans. “We had to sell all the gold we owned, including my mangalsutra, to be able to pay the advance. Even though they had given us an allotment letter, which clearly says the possession of our flat would be given to us by 2013, now they are not even willing to commit to a date of completion. When we had booked the flats, we had hoped that our families would move into a two bedroom house. Now, my daughter is getting married and we have no idea when the construction will be completed,” she said.
The buyers also alleged the builders, while registering with the RERA, had stated that they will construct 11 floors. But they have sold flats on higher floors as well. Rahul Darolia, a buyer, said: “I have an agreement that says I will be given a two bedroom flat on the 15th floor. But they have now changed their stand. Owing to their internal dispute, buyers who have invested their money in the project are suffering. Currently, I am repaying the loan and also paying around Rs 30,000 as rent for my current home.” Darolia had booked a flat in phase II in 2011 and till date, he has paid more than Rs 25 lakh to the builders.
After multiple attempts, the Kashimira police registered an FIR against three of the shareholders in the project, Bhupatbhai Lukhi, Dayabhai Sutariya and Sangeeta Vijay Kumar. They have been charged under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (cheating) and relevant sections of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act.
The buyers also approached Mahesh Patil, the Superintendent of Police, Thane, with their complaints against Kashimira police and the case has been transferred to the Crime Branch. “A day after the FIR was registered, we transferred it to the Crime Branch. No arrests have been made and the Crime Branch is in the process of recording statements,” Patil said.
While Lukhi and Sutariya could not be reached for a comment despite several calls and messages, Vijaykumar Hegde, the director of Tanvi Constructions, said the dispute between the three partners is pending in the Bombay High Court. “Sangeeta was a nominated director of Tanvi Constructions and was also a stakeholder in KCPL (Kashimira Ceramic Products LLP). For the past year-and-a-half, they have been arguing since Lukhi wanted to get out of the project and Sutariya was unwilling to shell out money. The High Court has appointed a mediator and we expect the dispute to be resolved soon so that the construction can resume,” Hegde said. He added that he had a fallout with his wife, Sangita Vijay Kumar, and earlier this year she left the company making him a partner in the project.