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10th July, 2017, Mumbai: I handed over a letter to Mr Gautam Chatterjee, Chief of Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (known as MahaRERA), with a sample of one prominent builder's draft of "RERA-compliant Sales Agreement", and the issues contained in that draft. In it, I pointed out the various shortcomings of this draft, which were not only unfair to the flat-buyer, but also untruthful and unlawful.
Mr Chatterjee spared some time to meet me and explained that those aggrieved by such unfair agreements thrust upon them by any builder should complain online after registering themselves as complainants on this website: https://maharerait.mahaonline.gov.in/login/UserRegistration , and file a complaint, accompanied by fees of Rs 5,000/-, which will then be heard by the Regulatory Authority or the Adjudicating Authority.

For the guidance of flat-owners and investors, I have reproduced below the letter that I submitted to Mr Chatterjee. 

Best Wishes,
Sulaiman Bhimani

To

Shri Gautam Chatterjee,
Chairman, Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority,
3rd Floor, A-Wing, Slum Rehabilitation Authority,
Administrative Building, Anant Kanekar Marg,
Bandra (E), Mumbai 400051.
Sub: Builders are making a mockery of MahaRERA

Dear Sir,

My activist friends and I are impressed by your deep knowledge and hard work. I have faith in Maharashtra’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA).

However, the common people do not have such faith. People feel that MahaRERA will fail to make builders deal fairly with the common man. They feel that builders will stick to their bad old ways. There are many reasons people’s lack of faith. One major reason is builders are taking RERA very lightly. Even after MahaRERA came into force, builders are still forcing home buyers to sign agreements containing outright lies and many clauses that are against the buyers’ interests. Here is Exhibit A  https://tinyurl.com/Ekta-MahaRera-Agreement

This is the Agreement draft of Ekta Tripolis, Goregaon, and is supposedly compliant with RERA. It is almost identical with agreement formats uploaded on MahaRERA website for other registered projects of the builder group called Ekta, owned and headed by Mr Ashok Mohanani. You are not pulling up this big builder for ramming such an agreement down the throats of home buyers, so why will the common man have any faith in MahaRERA?

Unfair & Untrue Clauses in Ekta builder’s “RERA Agreement”:
1) This “standard clause” is generally a false claim. Pg 12: "(cc) On demand from the Allottee, the Promoter has given inspection to the Allottee of all the documents of title relating to the said Land… and the plans, designs and specifications prepared by the Promoter's Architects… and of such other documents as are specified under the RERA and the Rules and Regulations made thereunder."

2) Allottees who may have paid as much as 100% of the consideration are today being told to falsely state that they have only paid 10%. Pg 15: "(iv) The Allottee has paid before execution of this Agreement, a sum of Rs. [●]/- (Rupees [●] only) (which does not exceed 10% of the Sale Consideration) as advance payment … "

3) This clause completely disempowers the buyer. Pg 16: "Time for payment of each installment is the essence of the contract. The Allottee hereby agrees, confirms and undertakes that an intimation forwarded by the Promoter, that a particular stage of construction is commenced or completed shall be sufficient proof that a particular stage of construction is completed. However, it is agreed that non receipt of such intimation requiring such payment shall not be a plea or an excuse by the Allottee for non-payment of any amount or amounts..."

4) This clause threatens to dispossess the buyer even if he pays the full consideration. "...Any payments made in favour of any other account other than mentioned hereinabove shall not be treated as payment towards the said Flat/Shop/Office and shall be construed as a breach on the part of the Allottee, in which event without prejudice to the right of the Promoter to charge interest at the prevailing rate of State Bank of India Highest Marginal Cost of Lending Rate plus 2% thereon on the amounts due, the Promoter shall be entitled to terminate this Agreement and forfeit 10% of the Sale Consideration along with brokerage charges (if any) as reasonable, pre- estimated, genuine and agreed liquidated damages and return balance (if any) to the Allottee within 30 (thirty) days from the date of such termination of the Agreement." RERA does not authorize the builder to terminate the agreement unilaterally on such grounds.

5) RERA does not envisage such forfeits. Pg 18 - "7. Voluntary Cancellation By Allottee. In the event, the Allottee desire/s to cancel the allotment of said Flat/Shop/Office for any reason whatsoever, then Promoter shall be entitled to forfeit the amounts equivalent to 10% (ten per cent) of the Sale Consideration and the Allottee shall not be entitled to such amount paid by him/her/them/it to the Promoter."

6) These arbitrary clauses dominate the buyer psychologically and financially: Pg 20 - "Event Of Default And Consequences - (i) The Promoter shall be entitled (but not obliged) to terminate this Agreement on the happening of any of the following events (“Events of Default”): ...(e) If the Allottee is/are, convicted of any offence involving moral turpitude and/or is sentenced to imprisonment for any offence for not less than six months; (f) If Receiver and/or a Liquidator and/or Official Assignee or any person is appointed of the Allottee or in respect of all or any of the assets and/or properties of the Allottee. (g) If the Allottee have received any notice from the Government in India (either Central, State or Local) or foreign Government for the Allottee involvement in any money laundering or any illegal activity and/or is declared to be a proclaimed offender and/or a warrant is issued against him... (i) If the Allottee fail/s to make payment of any outgoing/s, taxes, maintenance charges etc…” How is the builder concerned with bankruptcy proceedings, moral turpitude, etc? How can such extraneous factors enable a builder to dispossess his customer?

7) Arbitrary “standard clauses” for suppressing the buyer. “(ii) On happening or occurring of any of the Event of Default, the Promoter shall without prejudice to all other rights that the Promoter may have against the Allottee either under this Agreement, or in law or otherwise, give 30 (thirty) days notice to the Allottee to rectify/remedy such breach and during the notice period, the Allottee shall be liable to bear and pay interest at the prevailing rate of State Bank of India Highest Marginal Cost of Lending Rate plus 2% thereon on the due and payable amount. In the event Allottee fail/s to rectify/remedy the breach within notice period, then the Promoter shall be entitled (but shall not be obliged) to (i) forthwith terminate this Agreement (“Termination Date”) and (ii) forfeit/deduct all amounts mentioned in… above and balance if any, shall be refunded to the Allottee without any interest within 30 (thirty) days from the Termination Date. It is further clarified that any profit arising from sale of the said Flat/Shop/Office to the new Allottee shall be of the Promoter and the Allottee shall have no claim against the same."

Mr Chatterjee, Sir, such unlawful clauses may eventually be struck down if an allottee painstakingly challenges them, but in the meantime, they undermine public confidence in MahaRERA’s authority. Will you please promptly forbid such terrible agreement formats, and restore the people’s confidence? Sir, the public’s eyes are on you. Your actions must now speak louder than your words.

Yours sincerely,

Sulaiman Bhimani
RTI and Human Rights Activist
9323642081
sulaimanbhimani11@gmail.com

PS: After the onset of RERA, the older version of the agreement based on Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act 1963 (MOFA) may seem obsolete. But it is not so, because thousands of flat-buyers have signed such agreements quite recently, and consider themselves bound by their clauses. Ekta’s “MOFA agreement” format is even more horrendous than the RERA agreement. See Exhibit B. https://tinyurl.com/Ekta-Tripolis-MOFA-Agreement

The horrendous clauses are elaborated here in Exhibit B2. https://tinyurl.com/Issues-in-Ekta-Agreement

For many years and decades, Ekta and such other builders have been spreading misinformation about the legal entitlements of flat-buyers. Mr Chatterjee, you now have jurisdiction to curb this. Will you please exercise your jurisdiction to the fullest?

 

FIR against Directors Anubhav, Gukul & Saranga Aggarwal of RNA builders for duping buyers EOW not arresting the Accused.

The buyers claim that RNA Corp has been delaying handing over possession of apartments at Kalina complex for seven years

The Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai police have filed an FIR against a leading property developer for allegedly duping over 150 buyers.The complainants have alleged that the directors of RNA Corp and its associates have interminably delayed handing over possession of apartments booked by them at the developer's project in Kalina in 2010.The buyers claim that they have already paid around 70% of the money for apartments at RNA Address that were priced between Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 3 crore.

The builder, they said, had initially promised them possession in 2014, but has been delaying the handover claiming to have failed to acquire necessary permissions from the BMC. According to the buyers, in March 2013, after completing the third slab, the builder informed them that work would remain suspended until additional approvals were obtained within a few months.Further enquiries over the next couple of years, right until last year, were deflected by the builder, who kept blaming the civic body for taking time to grant approvals. Earlier this year, some of the exasperated buyers made enquiries with bodies such as MHADA and MCGM about the status of the project, and said they were surprised to find that RNA had not made certain payments with respect to the pending approvals.

Pradeep Banerjee, a director at an MNC, who has brought three apartments in the complex, told Mirror that the buyers were tired of RNA's excuses. “Every time we approach the builder he comes up with some excuse or the other. All promises made by the builder have been proven to be fake.“ Ashish Verma, another buyer, claimed that the police were delaying taking action against the builder. “Earlier the FIR was registered with Kherwadi police, and now EOW has filed the FIR on the same complaint. It's been four days since the FIR has been registered and no action has been taken. Instead of arresting the accused, the cops are asking for original documents from us.All these are delaying tactics. The delay in the handover of the flats, said advocate Ameet Mehta, who is representing the buyers, was severely inconveniencing several of them. “It's been seven years, and many buyers are senior citizens.“

An EOW official, involved in the investigations, said, “The scam could involve over Rs 100 crore. Statements are being recorded and suitable action will be taken soon.“

Anubhav Agarwal, a director at RNA, said “These are people with malicious intentions. We had moved court also because of such intentions. The delay in the project was due to us not getting permissions on time. The court is yet to pass an order on the same. The case is subjudice. Meanwhile, we can't understand how the cops can file a case against us. We will challenge the same in court.“

Thursday, April 27, 2017
By Raju Vernekar
An FIR (90/2017) has been lodged at Bandra's Kherwadi Police station, against a developer on charges of delaying redevelopment of buildings located at Kole Kalyan, Kalina in Santacruz (East) and keeping 67 allottees on tenterhooks for nearly a decade despite collecting nearly Rs 87 crore from them towards the cost of the flats.
The FIR was lodged on April 19, 2017 by Police Sub Inspector Jashri Sangle, based on the complaint of a 72-year-old allottee Clifford Menezes, against the directors of RNA Corp Pvt Ltd; Anubhav Agarwal, Gokul Agarwal, Sarang Agarwal and others. Sections 403, 420, 34 of the IPC and the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act (MOFA) have been leveled against the accused. The FIR says that the accused collected Rs 87,11,53,540 from 67 allottees but failed to give possession of flats, for nearly a decade. The FIR was subsequently transferred to the Economic Offenses Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police for further investigation.

When contacted, Assistant Police Inspector (API) Vikrant Shirsat of EOW told The Afternoon D&C that more FIRs are likely to be filed against the accused and no one will be spared. At present we are conducting a thorough inquiry into the matter, he added.
According to documents made available by RTI activist Sulaiman Bhimani, the developer agreed to redevelop Sunder Nagar Co-op. Society, Siddhesh Co-op Hsg Spociety, Matoshri Co-op Hsg Society and Kamkar Chawl located on plots (City survey No. 4853,4853/1 to 85, 87 and 88) totally ad measuring 14,956.41 square mtrs located in Kalina.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s building proposal issued IOD (Intimation of Disapproval) under section 346 of the BMC Act on September 7, 2006, and subsequently issued a commencement certificate on March 30, 2007, to the developer. Despite all the clearances, no construction was started in time.
The proposed composite project was titled as 'RNA Address' which was supposed to have 7 buildings with an area of 57,4945 sq. ft. comprising 294 premium apartments of 2 BHK, 3 BHK and other configurations. The total sales value of RNA Address was estimated at Rs 1,009 crore of which the developer sold units worth Rs 360.35 crore.
Yet the developer issued letters of allotment to the allottees, towards purchase of the flats. The allottees made payments ranging between 20% to 60% of the total purchase, based on the reminders of the developer. Besides the tripartite agreements were also executed and entered into between the allottees, the developer and the State Bank of India(SBI). In terms of the agreements, SBI sanctioned stipulated loan amounts in favour of individual allottees based on the guarantee provided by the developer in favor of SBI. The developer agreed to obtain the necessary permissions and register the ownership agreements, within twelve months of signing the agreement.
On May 11, 2012, the developer communicated to the allottees, that due to certain amendments in the Development Control Regulations of the BMC, the number of floors of 'RNA Address' have been reduced to 13 from earlier 15. As such the payment schedule stands revised.
In March 2013, the developer told the allottees that the third slab had been completed, but since the approval was obtained only for the construction up to the third slab, the work would remain suspended till additional approvals were obtained from the BMC.
Then on March 30, 2016, the developer obtained a fresh NOC from the Mumbai board of MHADA to commence work but again kept the work pending. When some of the allottees inquired with MHADA and the BMC about the delay, they were surprised to find out that since the developer did not make required payment, the approvals were held up.
As of now there is a plinth plus three storey structure in an absolute wretched condition at the site. Now some of the allottees have also submitted a petition to the National Consumer Redressal Forum, seeking justice. Repeated attempts to get version of the developer failed since RNA’s supposedly 'Corporate communication team' went on dodging the issue.

ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Sulaiman Bhimani
9323642081

MMRDA has given permission to set up a multi-storey public car parking facility in a Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) building being constructed at Oshiwara, Goregaon West near Ram Mandir railway station to accommodate Project Affected People (PAP), without even conducting a feasibility study.

Ground plus seven floors are being constructed as part of “ RNA Exotica complex”  which will be reserved for tenements to be constructed for the PAPs. Besides the public car parking facility will be set up from the 9tH to 18th floor. MMRDA has given permission for this car parking facility even without carrying out a feasibility test.

In reply to a query by RTI activist Sulaiman Bhimani, Rahul Pande, Public Information Officer and  Deputy Town Planner, MMRDA, vide his letter No MMRDA/SRA Cell/30/17 dated 20 February 2017 replied that the information whether or not a feasibility test was carried out, before granting permission for the car parking is not available and if dissatisfied Bhimani may approach MMRDA’s appellate authority, SRA cell.

When contacted Additional MMRDA Commissioner Anil Wankhede told The Afternoon D & C, that the permission for public car parking facility has been granted, by clubbing it with slum rehabilitation project since the plot was reserved for the car parking. The decision was taken much earlier. But it is not clear why no feasibility study was conducted. Yet we will look into it, he added.

However Bhimani maintained that the  permission for car parking was granted in haste by former MMRDA Commissioner  Ratnakar Gaikwad before he became the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, using his discretionary powers and malpractice in the deal was not ruled out. Basically the car parking on such a massive scale (for nearly 190 cars) is not feasible, because it will increase the load tremendously on the building. Besides, the cost will be Rs 300  per trip (ground to 18th floor and back). As such there will be no takers.

“The building is yet to be completed so the corrective action can always be taken to make better utilisation of 4 FSI granted. If the MMRDA does not amend its decision, we will have no option but to launch an agitation against this car parking which will be a “white-elephant” he added. When contacted RNA team preferred to dodge the query and did not furnish any reply.

is it feasible?
A feasibility study evaluates the project's potential for success; therefore, perceived objectivity is an important factor in the credibility of the study for potential investors and lending institutions. The feasibility study involves taking a judgment call on whether a project is doable. The two criteria to judge feasibility are cost required and value to be delivered

ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Sulaiman Bhimani
9323642081

No BMC action against Golden Chariot

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
By Raju Vernekar
Although the fire brigade has cancelled the NOC granted to the Golden Chariot Hotel, located at Hub Mall, Goregaon East, which was gutted in a massive fire on 29th December, 2016, the BMC is yet to take action against the hotel which was accused of blocking fire-exits and carrying out structural changes that allegedly led to delay in putting off the fire.
 Deputy Chief Officer has cancelled the NOC (FBL/S/106/1076 dated 01/11/2006) granted to the hotel, vide his letter dated 6 th March 2017. However BMC’s P South ward office maintain that  although the notices have been issued to the hotel for violation of safety norms, the hotel has moved the court and the court has granted a stay in the matter.
Basically in the writ petition (105/2017) filed by the Golden Chariot Hospitality Services Private Limited against the state government, the rule is yet to be granted. When the petition came up for hearing for the first time, a bench comprising justices Naresh Patil and M.S.Karnik observed that, “Registry has not produced papers and proceedings of the present writ petition. Hence it stand over to 22 February 2017. In the meantime registry to trace out and ensure that papers are produced on next date of the hearing. Now the petition is to scheduled to come up for hearing on23 March 2017.

Speaking to The Afternoon D & C, Assistant Municipal Commissioner Santosh Dhond said, “The BMC has taken required action in the matter. But now the court has granted a stay in the matter”.

Senior Inspector of Police Jyotsna Vilas Rasam of Vanrai Police station said that the cases have been registered against the hotel under the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act 1966, as advised by the BMC. “We are moving as per the instructions of the BMC, which is supposed to look after the issues like how fire broke out ? whether unauthorised structural changes led to aggravation of fire ? etc”, she added.

RTI activists Krishnraj Rao, Shaikh Fakhruddin Junaid and Sulaiman Bhimani, who have been monitoring the case, maintained that the Deputy Municipal Commissioner Kiran Achrekar and Deputy Chief Fire Officer V N Panigrahi had ordered the closure of the hotel long back.

But the hotel continues to function, may be due to collusion with the  BMC officers. Initially the officers dragged their feet making it easy for the accused to move the court, they alleged.

It may be recalled that a complaint report of the Chief Fire Officer dated 14 November 2014, had pointed out many irregularities including unauthorised structural changes, closure of fire exits etc and had directed the BMC’s P south ward to take immediate action in the matter. The report stated that “The P ward shall be asked to urgently visit the premises to verify the license and the area of trade and activities of the “Golden Chariot Restaurant” and take appropriate action under section 394 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act 1888, to stop unauthorised utilisation of additional area of the common passage for restaurant activities. The action of the hotel management could not be obtained despite many attempts. The catering staff at the restaurant said that everything was normal after the fire and now the hotel was functioning routinely
The high Court has not Granted stay to Golden Chariot but the AMC Psouth is protecting the culprit, the matter in the High Court is kept for admission and circulation as per High Court website
POSTED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Sulaiman Bhimani
9323642081