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No plans to lodge FIR against suspended MMRDA officials A K Pahal a habitual offender

Mumbai
Even after flouting norms by issuing fake work experience certificates to help a private contractor bag a contract worth Rs 70 crore, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority has no plans to lodge a First Information Report against its engineers that were recently suspended. The engineers, A K Pahal and P K Veni, were suspended for forgery a fortnight ago.
According to the probe report, the suspended engineers had helped contractor, NA construction, by giving fake certificates to bag a storm water drain project in Haryana. The authority is currently probing into the matter on its departmental level. Officials said that all of the certificates issued by the suspended engineers will also be scrutinised in order to ascertain their involvement in other projects.
Interestingly, both the engineers have accepted their involvement in the forgery act. A senior MMRDA official on conditions of anonymity told the Free Press Journal, “We are conducting a departmental inquiry and will take further action on basis of the conclusion of the inquiry report. We are not planning to lodge an FIR but the officials will be thrown out of service.”
Activist Sulaiman Bhimani, who has filed numerous complaints of corruption against A K Pahal, alleged that Pahal used NA constructions as a proxy contractor for his son. He said, “This tender process was just an eyewash as the actual person who was supposed to carry out the project work was Pahal’s son. He had also attended the pre-bid meeting. Moreover, Veni is junior to Pahal and have signed the certificates on the latter’s orders.” Bhimani added that Haryana, where the storm water project was supposed to be carried out, is the home town of Pahal.
“I fail to understand the authority's denial in filing a police complaint and is still conducting a department inquiry despite of the fact that the engineers have already pleaded guilty,” Bhimani added.⁠⁠⁠⁠

Sagar Pillai Reporter of Free Press Journal 

POSTED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Sulaiman Bhimani 
9323642081 
sulaimanbhimani11@gmail.com 

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

Mumbai, 30th August, 2016: To recover its Rs 100 crore project loan to RNA Exotica before it becomes a bad debt like BOI's loan and SBI's loan, Axis Bank is pressing the panic-button and threatening flat-buyers to immediately pre-pay large amounts (like Rs 25-50 lakh), forgetting about slab-completion schedules. Axis Bank has recently written strangely worded letters to RNA's Skyline Construction Co in respect of each and every flat (see specimen), saying that unless the entire remaining amount of the flat's consideration is remitted to its designated account, RNA Corp will not be allowed to sell the said flat to the name of the buyer. These letters, which are supposedly "No Objection Certificates" for the sale of flats to the purchasers, are being lovingly forwarded by RNA Corp to the individual flat-buyers with a tiny email (see example). Axis Bank's relayed letter is like holding a gun to the heads of helpless flat-buyers and saying: "Pay everything right now! Or else you will never get your flat!" And RNA Corp's forwarding email seems to suggest, "Yes, forget about installment payments based on slab-completion schedule. Just pay 100% right now".

In fact, Axis Bank's letter has come as a jolt to many buyers who were unaware that their flat was mortgaged by RNA to Axis Bank! Hundreds of RNA Exotica's buyers are suffering from sleepless nights, trying to figure out what course of action will be in their long-term interest. "Should we just pay the remaining amount to Axis Bank, so that it will release the lien over our flats? Or should we continue to pay in installments according to slab completion stages? Or should we go to Consumer Court? Or Civil Court? Or High Court? Or what?!!!" They are at a loss as to what to do next!

Axis Bank Threat

[NOTE: In our earlier article titled How RNA Corp taught ExoticArithmentic to Axis Bank, we revealed how Skyline Construction Co mortgaged unsold flats of RNA Exotica in 2011 and 2013 based on hugely inflated and completely unverifiable figures. Axis Bank gave the builder a Rs 75 cr line of credit in March 2011, and beefed it up to Rs 100 crore in March 2013, although the value of the collateral fell sharply.

Also, in RNA Exotica: Nine ways buyers got screwed, we analyzed the negative implications of the sale-purchase agreement.]

Now let us analyze the letter written by Axis Bank, supposedly addressed to Skyline Construction Co., but actually addressed to the flat-buyer directly. The subject line says, "No Objection for Release of Charge for Sale of Flat no. XXX in Building no. B Wing of RNA Exotica in favour of Mr YYY." The letter goes on to say:

  • RNA Exotica has been mortgaged exclusively to Axis Bank for a sanctioned line of credit of Rs 100 crores.
  • The said flat no. XXX is sold/proposed to be sold to Mr. YYY for a total consideration of Rs 1.8 crore (or some such amount), and that "We have been requested to issue our NO Objection for the said sale".
  • "We wish to inform you that we have No Objection for Release of Charge on the said premises to enable you to sell the said premises to said Mr YYY... subject to the specific condition that the total consideration mentioned above shall be deposited in designated account no ABCXYZ maintained with the Bank. Provided that if the Bank is not in receipt of the said sum of Rs 29.26 lakh in the designated amount as aforementioned, this NOC shall not have any effect and shall be deemed to be cancelled... and the charges over the said premises shall not stand released."

No, this is not really a "No Objection" letter; it is actually an Objection letter from Axis Bank to the flat-buyer with whom it really has no direct connection, and as such, it is illegal. As Axis Bank has given a project loan to the builder and not a home-loan to the buyer, it has no business communicating with the home-buyers.

IMPLICATIONS OF AXIS BANKS'S LETTER:

  1. REGISTERING OF SALE-PURCHASE AGREEMENTS MAY BE HELD UP. Home-buyers who already have a registered sale-purchase agreement are slightly more safe. But, for those buyers who only have an Allotment Letter from the builder, this letter implies that they will not be allowed to register their agreement until they have paid 100% of the consideration amount and got an NOC from Axis Bank.
  2. CONFLICTS WITH HOME-LOAN LENDING BANKS. Home buyers who have taken a home-loan from another bank may be in a fix. Their bank will insist on releasing funds only according to slab-completion, and therefore, they will never get Axis Bank's NOC until the final payment is made... and so, they may have to wait till that stage for registering their agreement.
  3. HUGE PRESSURE ON SELF-FINANCED BUYERS. On the other hand, home-buyers who did not take a home-loan may feel under pressure to pay the entire remaining amount of Rs 25 to 50 lakhs, or even more, all at once. Do they have the capacity to pay such amounts immediately?
  4. PAYING 100% NOW MEANS BEING AT THE BUILDER'S MERCY. If home-buyers succumb to the temptation of making 100% payment at this stage, then what financial power do they retain in their hands? After paying 100%, they are totally at the builder's mercy. Currently, construction activity is going on at the 33rdfloor slab. Even if one assumes that the building is only 35 floors (and not 40 floors), a huge amount of construction work still remains, namely brick-work, plumbing and drainage, electricals, plastering, flooring, interiors, fixtures, lifts, stairs and common amenities such as clubhouse, etc. etc. At least two more years of work -- or about 50% of the work – is still remaining to be done before the flat-owners can get possession. What if Skyline Construction Co stops work and claims that it has run out of money? What if it demands more money – say another 20 lakh per flat – to complete the project? Going to court may not sound like such a good option then, and flat buyers will be left with no option except to pay whatever the builder asks.

What is the solution to all this? One possible solution could be that flat buyers should pay this amount to Axis Bank, but only after filing a civil case and after RNA Corp gives an undertaking to the court that they will complete the project within a deadline. Groups of flat-buyers are reportedly planning to take some such step, although these discussions are still at a preliminary stage.

Aagey dekhiye, iss dhaaravahik ki Ugly kadee!

ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY

Krishnaraj Rao

9821588114

krish.kkphoto@gmail.com

WITH MAJOR INPUTS FROM

Sulaiman Bhimani

9323642081

sulaimanbhimani11@gmail.com

Mumbai, 30 June 2016: Hundreds of savvy and well-educated flat buyers have purchased "luxurious" flats in RNA Exotica without noticing what their sale-purchase agreements clearly says: that RNA Exotica is actually a large and shabby slum rehabilitation scheme with a tiny island of rich flat-buyers. The rich people's housing project is married and tied to the rehab component in the same undivided compound -- a marriage made in hell! Not just RNA Exotica's sale-purchase agreement, but also project layouts and plans presented to MOEF, give a birds-eye-view of this nightmarish neighbourhood. With clever advertizing, a tight-lipped sales staff, and several clauses in the sale-purchase agreements that forbid investors from asking the right questions, RNA Corp has been consistently misleading its investors for many years. A prospective home-buyer never gets to read the true facts before he is inside the builder's trap!

So let us take a close look at all the ugly truths that the sale-purchase agreement reveals. As a specimen, take the sale-purchase agreement of actor Arif Zakaria (Flat no. 1903, D-Wing).

Inline image 1

NINE WAYS THE BUILDER SCREWED YOU:

  1. RNA Exotica is a Apartment and Slum Rehab Project in a single compound, so you can't object to general public and outsiders in your compound. The agreement makes sure that flat-buyers will have no right in future to object to the rehab building and car park constructed adjoining RNA Exotica, in the same compound. This clause tells flat-buyers in no uncertain terms that the public parking being constructed on the rehab building is not available for their cars. Read this on page 13 and this on page 21 of the registered agreement. So, the proud flat purchasers should know from this clause that their building compound is only semi-private, unlike most of the apartment compounds that are completely private.

  2. RNA Corp can construct anything on top of your flats, so keep quiet and mind your business. The agreement gives the builder the unlimited right to build anything on top of the "top floor" flat, and the flat-purchaser must keep mum about it. In other words, the builder can continue to commercially exploit any increase in FSI or any changes in rules, even if it causes great delay, inconvenience and losses to the flat-buyers, and the only thing that they can do is smile and feel privileged about owning a luxury flat in RNA Exotica.

  3. RNA Corp can construct servants' toilets, septic tanks, electric sub-stations, closed garages, etc. etc. anywhere in the compound or in the building, so shut your nose, mouth and ears.The ground plans or floor plans shown in the agreement can and will be extensively changed to suit the builder's requirements, and this is plainly stated in the agreement itself. All kind of noisy, smelly or intrusive structures can and will be constructed in various parts of the building and compound where you live, including the same floor where you live, but you cannot object on any grounds because you have signed on an agreement that ties your hands. Your rights as a flat-buyer are restricted to the premises that you have purchased, and not, as is the case in other building projects, the common amenities.

  4. RNA Corp can and will create third-party rights and entitlements to various parts of your building and compound, including clubhouse and various parts that you may mistakenly consider as your common amenities. Read this point carefully again, and you will see that this clause is not just a routinely-drafted formality, but is cleverly drafted to take away all your legal rights.

  5. RNA Corp can decrease the common areas and facilities in your building, and you waived your right to raise any objections.People book luxury apartments not just because of spacious flats, but because of spacious and well-designed common amenities and facilities. These amenities and common spaces are factored into the price of the flat as "super-built-up area". But, after paying lakhs of rupees up front to book a flat in RNA Exotica, buyers are informed by their registered agreement on page 37 that the common areas cannot be taken for granted, and they have no right to object!

  6. You unknowingly gave a power-of-attorney to RNA Corp to sign legal waivers on your behalf before all government authorities, without even informing you. According to this clause, the developer need not consult you or even inform before making big or small changes in the plans, because he can always sign an indemnity or undertaking on your behalf to tell the government that you are OK with anything that he does!

  7. You have surrendered your right to independently verify title and ownership of the plot of land on which RNA Exotica is built... because agreement says you have already verified it and satisfied yourself! Mr flat-buyer, when you signed on every page of the agreement in the Stamp Duty Registrar's office, you definitely were not looking for tricky clauses like this one. But here is a clause on page 17 and another on page 25 that says that you have already verified the title and satisfied yourself, and now you have agreed not to investigate any further, or raise any objections.

  8. Possession date is deliberately left blank. Therefore, you have no way of holding RNA Corp accountable for delay of several years, although there is technically a clause for delays. Read this clause on page 37 and its continuation on page 39.

  9. RNA Corp can allot you car parking according to their own sweep pleasure, and you cannot object. The builder may allot you a really shitty parking in the basement, podium or stilt, and the builder may sell favourably-positioned parkings to others. You have no right to object. Read this clause on page 41.

So, Mr and Mrs Flat Purchaser, it is only in theory that you bought a luxury apartment in RNA Exotica. Your luxury apartment exists only in pretty advertisements. The fact is, you just bought a 2BHK or 3BHK in a shitty slum rehab neighbourhood overlooking the railway tracks, and you signed up on a document that says that you have no right to keep the people of your neighbourhood and sundry public from accessing your compound... and you have no right to object to this entire scheme of things. The only thing you can say now is, "It was nice being screwed by you, Mr Anil Aggarwal."

Inline image 2

Sincere thanks to Sulaiman "Superman" Bhimani (9323642081) for his continuous detective work, which enabled and motivated me to write this article.

ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY

Krishnaraj Rao

9821588114

krish.kkphoto@gmail.com

9

There was a interactive panel discussion in Mumbai WTC on the 29th of January 2015 organized by World Trade Centre (WTC) and All India Association of Industries (AIAI) in collaboration with the Indo-France Chamber of Commerce and Industries (IFCCI). It was to discuss ‘Smart Cities in India: Reality in the Making’.

Dignitaries on the stage included Mr. Sanjay Sethi (IAS) (Additional Metropolitan Commissioner-I, MMRDA), Ms. Laura Prasad (Secretary General, IFCCI), Dr. Laveesh Bhandari (Founder and Chief Economist, Indicus Analytics Pvt. Ltd.), Mr. Vijay Kalantri (President, AIAI and Vice Chairman, MVIRDC WTC), Mr. Shankar Aggarwal (IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development Government of India), Mr. Dilip Shekdar (Chief Architect, Naya Raipur Development Authority), Mr. Ravi Kant Malhan (Director, Head Business Development:  Smart Cities and Special Projects, Schneider Electric India), Capt. Somesh Batra (Vice Chairman, MVIRDC WTC) and  Mr. Abhishek Lodha (Managing Director, Lodha Group).

A journalist, Shruti Ravindran who had attended it, tweeted a photo of a shocking quote from a brochure 'Smart Cities in India: Reality in the Making' released during this event.

Smart cities that exclude the poor
Smart cities that exclude the poor

 

The quote in the above photo says:

...There are only two ways to keep people out of any space - prices and policing. In other words, the prices will automatically be higher in such cities - the notion that they will be low cost is flawed. Even if possible from a cost provision perspective, they cannot be low cost from a demand supply perspective.

Even with high prices, the conventional laws in India will not enable us to exclude millions of poor Indians from enjoying the privileges of such great infrastructure. Hence the police will need to physically exclude people from such cities, and they will need a different set of laws from those operating in the rest of India for them to be able to do so. Creating special enclaves is the only method of doing so. And therefore GIFT is an SEZ and so will each of these 100 smart cities have to be.

(excerpt from an article by Laveesh Bhandari, Founder and Chief Economist at Indicus Analytics Pvt Ltd)

So let me get this right. The government will be used to empty land to build smart cities in the name of developing the country. It will be called "inclusive development". And the smart cities built on this land will be for the rich - by design. And we are talking of a hundred cities, displacing god knows how many people. The police of the land will be used "on the tax payer's money" (as these hotshots like to call it) to keep the poor out of these cities using laws OTHER THAN INDIAN LAWS.

Am I the only one being reminded of Arundhati Roy's infamous quote that earned her the anger of the oh-so-innocent middle classes? Here it is, if you don't remember. And she said this in 2007.

We have a growing middle class, being reared on a diet of radical consumerism and aggressive greed. Unlike industrializing western countries which had colonies from which to plunder resources and generate slave labour to feed this process, we have to colonize ourselves, our own nether parts. We’ve begun to eat our own limbs. The greed that is being generated (and marketed as a value interchangeable with nationalism) can only be sated by grabbing land, water and resources from the vulnerable. What we’re witnessing is the most successful secessionist struggle ever waged in Independent India. The secession of the middle and upper classes from the rest of the country.

~ Arundhati Roy

This could be considered the impractical fantasy of rich men (albeit very rich men and sponsors of the ruling party behind this government), but the brochure also carries an introductory message from Shankar Aggarwal, IAS, Union Ministry of Urban Development, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA, not to mention him being personally present there and meeting journalists on the sidelines to announce the Framework for 100 smart cities to be ready by February.

Framework for 100 smart cities to be ready by February says Aggarwal - Moneylife
Framework for 100 smart cities to be ready by February says Aggarwal - Moneylife

Here are some relevant excerpts from the brochure including the message from Shankar Aggarwal, the program schedule of the event, including names of speakers, the profile of the author Dr. Laveesh Bhandari, the article itself, and another article on GIFT, which is referenced in this article as a model. Excerpts from Smart Cities in India: Reality in the Making

Given the opaque manner in which this government operates, as well as dramatic undermining of protections of local interests and environment through ordinances, such views should be a cause of alarm for citizens, if the much heralded development is going to actually be displacement on a massive scale, disenfranchisement of local populations and their explicit exclusion from the "growth story" while the rich use the country's power to get land for their shangri-las, use the country's resources "24/7" (can this ever be promised to those who will be displaced to create these "enclaves"?) and use the country's police force to protect what will essentially be elite facilities barred to the common masses through special laws created to protect the elite.

I imagine, the elites will also only be paying for their actual residences and the cost of creating these havens for them will also have to be borne by the country.

Is this development or colonization of India by the rich? The Gujarat model is all set to exploit India as well. All we need are new signboards, "Poor citizens and dogs not allowed"