Information obtained under the Right to Information Act has revealed that the Slum Rehabilitation Authority sent a notice to Housing Development and Infrastructure (HDIL) on July 10, asking it to stop work on an ongoing project after four cheques worth Rs 15.84 crore it had issued to the SRA bounced.
Citing the information, RTI activist Anil Galgali wrote to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday, demanding that the firm be blacklisted and an enquiry be constituted against former SRA head Vishwas Patil, who had allegedly allowed HDIL to pay the amount to regularise a construction taken up without prior permission.
Galgali alleged that HDIL developers had started construction of the sale component of a project without requisite permissions from the SRA. When the matter came to light, Galgali claimed, Patil, in September 2016, approved the regularisation of the project by levying a penalty of Rs 61.5 crore.
“The third installment of the payment was made vide four post-dated cheques, which amounted to Rs 15,84,95,201, which were returned by the bank. After the cheques bounced, the executive engineer of SRA sent the letter to HDIL on July 10, directing them to stop the work until a no-objection certificate had been obtained from the audit department,” said Galgali.
The activist has demanded that HDIL be blacklisted from participating in future SRA projects and a case be registered against them as well as the project architect. He also asked for an inquiry against Patil for allowing them to regularise the construction.
Refuting the allegations made by Galgali, Hari Prakash Pandey, the vice-president of finance, HDIL, said that the payment was a rent amount that the firm was supposed to pay the SRA. “There is no illegal construction in the project. We pay a certain rent to SRA by post-dated cheques for the period of one year. However, our project account was attached and the amount went to the Income-Tax authorities instead of the SRA. We were not aware of it since we received the notice only on July 17. We are now replacing the cheques. The payment is likely to be made in a day or two,” he said.
Patil could not be reached for a comment.