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Mumbai, 5th March, 2016: Last week, one of RNA builders' thousands of cheated flat-purchasers sent the builder a legal ultimatum, and started taking steps for going to court after discovering that their promised 17th floor flat in RNA Regal, a project in Kandivali West, is the proverbial pie-in-the-sky! In February 2011, Sandeep Kothari and Apeksha Khabiya, a non-resident couple based in Doha-Qatar, booked a spacious 17th floor flat in RNA Regal, based on the builder's promise that they would get possession within three years. The couple planned to return to India to live in this spacious 1365 sq. ft. dream house. After paying nearly Rs 30 lakhs up front as initial booking amount, the couple was kept in the dark by RNA Corp which fed them a steady diet of outright lies during the three-year waiting period. Every time the couple phoned RNA Corp, they were informed that the project was making satisfactory progress. In the end, the couple's rude awakening consisted of not one, but three shocking jolts!

Shock # 1: When the promised possession date arrived in March 2014, Sandeep and Apeksha were shocked to learn that no further progress had been made in three years, and that the project was practically at a standstill at “25% progress”, the same as the time when they had booked the flat in Feb 2011. Today, two years after making this shocking discovery, they are still no closer to getting their dream house.

Shock # 2: Almost five years after booking the flat and two yearsafter the promised possession date (March-April 2014), the couple was shocked to discover documents through Right To Information that showed that RNA Regal didn't even have BMC permission for going up to 17 floors and above!

Shock # 3: The couple recently sent their authorised representative to visit the site and make a first-hand observation about whether the construction work is in progress. They were traumatised to learn that no construction activities were going on, and the plot where RNA Regal was expected to come up, was partly blocked by slum dwellers. The authorized representative estimated that the encroachment by slumdwellers appeared to be two to four years old.

These are many causes for worry, not only for Mr and Mrs Kothari, but also for all the flat buyers in RNA Regal! RNA Corp's owners, namely the late Anil Aggarwal, as well as his sons Anubhav and Gokul Aggarwal, have evidently been keeping a large number of buyers in the dark.

Read the legal notice issued by GC Mehta and Associates on behalf of Mr and Mrs Sandeep Kothari: http://tinyurl.com/RNA-Regal-Kandivali

RNA Regal

How the NRI couple was cheated by RNA Corp:

  • The NRI couple booked a 1365 Sq. Ft. Flat on the 17th floor of RNA Regal, by paying Rs. 29.98 lakhs between February and June 2011 against the builder's demand for Rs. 29.28 lakhs, being 25% of the flat's total cost, along with expression of interest. Against this, the builder issued a letter of allotment.

  • The NRI couple made this booking based on the builder's representations that they would get possession of the flatwithin three years e. in the first quarter of 2014.
  • Afterwards, the NRI couple regularly followed up the progress of construction of RNA Regal and were assured by the builder's office that the project was satisfactory progressing.
  • When the date of possession arrived in March-April 2014, RNA Corp informed the NRI couple that still, only 25% of the construction was complete, and the project was stuck due to some “additional statutory requirements”.The couple was assured that efforts were being made and the necessary clearances would be obtained soon.
  • Upset at being kept in the dark until their promised possession date, the NRI couple now started enquiring about the project status by email on a regular basis.
  • In an email dated 4th April 2014, the builder assured that that construction work would resume by June 2014.
  • In an email dated 14th June 2014, the builder claimed that the approvals are expected within 10-15 days.
  • In an email dated 2ndJanuary 2015, the builder said that the necessary approvals would take another 2-3 months.
  • Later on, the NRI couple's emails dated 31/07/2015, 04/08/2015, 06/08/2015, 07/08/2015 20/08/2015 and 23/08/2015 and letters dated 08/12/2015 and 05/02/2016 were acknowledged by the builder's office only with great reluctance, but they all went unanswered.
  • Whenever the NRI couple or their authorized representatives visited India, they made it a point to visit the builder's office to inquire about the progress on this project and understand the earliest date of their getting possession, so that they could permanently return to India and live in this house. But during their every visit, the NRI couple were told about some or the other kind progress as well as difficulties that the RNA Corp had been facing. RNA Corp continually made promises, but there was no performance to back up these promises.
  • In spite of repeated requests, RNA Corp did not fulfill their obligation for executing a registered Agreement for Sale.
  • The NRI couple got a huge shock when they learned through RTI thatRNA Corp had not even obtained approval for constructing a building with 17 or more floors!
  • The Kotharis requested their authorised representative to visit the site and make first hand observation about the actual progress and whether the construction work is in progress. They were traumatised to learn thatno construction activities were going on and the plot where RNA Regal was projected to be constructed was partly blocked by slum dwellers. This encroachment appeared to be 2 to 4 years old!

Driven by all these unpleasant discoveries, Sandeep Kothari and his wife Apeksha have now reached the inescapable conclusion that RNA Corp has cheated them by retaining their money for more than five years, and has kept on making false statements as well as promises, which entitles them to invoke all legal remedies against the builders, especially under Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

For more details on this case, contact Advocate GC Mehta (Mob 9820141178 Email advocategcm@gmail.com)

Postscript: Of late, RNA Corp has been in the news for failure to fulfill legal obligations to various stakeholders, including flat-buyers, project-affected-persons, lending banks, and multiple government agencies such as MCGM and MMRDA. After years or even decades of slippery behaviour by the late Anil Aggarwal and his sons Anubhav and Gokul, the patience of many stakeholders appears to have run out completely.

ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY

Krishnaraj Rao

9821588114

krish.kkphoto@gmail.com

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Note: A shorter version of this had appeared in print in Sunday's "The Free Press ePaper"

This morning was abuzz with the news our celebrated controversial painter M F Hussain was no more. Social media exploded with opinions. What stood out to my mind was that everyone had something to say. His depictions of our country and goddesses in the nude in 1996. A decade of protests, vandalism and court cases later, The man who was a part of India before its creation had given up our citizenship and moved to Qatar.

His death brought everything to the front again. Many criticized him and thought that those mourning him were excusing his behaviour. People spoke in support of him and thought it was a great pity that an artist like him was not allowed to flourish. Others respected him in death, but thought that he had insulted India. A few said that the government failed in creating safety for him.

Pritish Nandy wrote a series of Tweets in his memory describing him as a friend and artist. "Husain was one of my best friends and I shall miss him deeply. One of the greatest artists of our time. Few people had that zest for living as Husain. My walls are full of his notes and drawings left in my office when I wasnt there."

Sunny Singh was direct and vocal about intolerance. "So 'offended sensibilities' are not a particularly interesting or relevant criteria for art. If you dont like it, dont see/hear/read it. However in India the problem is shutting out of voices from public discourse which then leads to frustration and a stilted debate!"

Others remembered his contribution to India's post independence asthetic and how his thousands of paintings were shown in such a way that the rural masses could enjoy them.

"I cameaway myself because I am an old man and vulnerable to physical danger. It’s not just the cases. If I came back, given the mood they have created, someone could just push or assault me on the street, and I would not be able to defend myself." quotes an article from Tehelka about his move to Qatar.

As the day passed and more people joined conversations, and voices mellowed. Perhaps it was the dawning realization that here was a man who had produced thousands and thousands of paintings and the ones causing anger were a few.

Nitin Pai made it simple on twitter: "Always a good idea not let your politics get ahead of your humanity."

“He may have been controversial, but he was an Indian. So, his last rites should be performed in India,” said BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar.

“Damage may have been caused to modern art due to his demise. Thats all. May Allah give him peace,” Thackeray said. “As an artist, everyone has a domain and Husain handled his modern art with zeal. However, he ‘slipped’ while drawing paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses,” he added.

Raj Thackeray called Husain a “national asset” and said that all controversies related to paintings of renowned painter Husain should be laid to rest with his demise.

Javed Akhtar commented "A truly Indian artist has left the world misunderstood and back stabbed but thru his art he will out live all his adversaries."

A new understanding of the man and his relationship with India started to emerge. I saw M F Hussain as the great artist he was and recognized his dedication to his art. I pondered artistic freedom and how things may be misunderstood by an audience, when an artist is so lost in his art that he uses his own symbolisms and meanings. Can it be called a fault? Certainly his years and years of interest and keen knowledge of Indian mythology couldn't come without a deep interest and love. I didn't believe that he intended disrespect. While there is no doubt that he is responsible for his actions, perhaps we ought to respect an artist's right to stand by his creation and his intentions in the face of controvesy.

Content strategist Amrit Hallan puts it beautifully on his Twitter account "Maturity of a country manifests in the way it protects its artists, no matter how revolting."

We are failing to show ourselves as mature people. From Arundhati Roy to Baba Ramdev... we have lost the ability to allow a thought we don't like to exist. We have lost compassion and tolerance. We have lost the ability to question and clarify differences and make peace. In every case, we have polarized opinions.

As we honor this great son of India, who was older than the country itself, the best tribute we can pay him is learning to bridge chasms. Learning to be less fractured as a country.

Put up this version mainly because the edit used some quotes without attributions, so acknowledging them here.