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Press Release

The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has directed developer to give an undertaking that the firm will cover any losses suffered by five home buyers, who got refund orders for delayed possession last month, till the filing of an appeal with the appellate tribunal.

On September 27, 2018, MahaRERA had ordered the developer to refund the investments of five home buyers – Rahul Bhosale, Hitesh Shah, Riyaz Jetham, Alistair Gomes and Sachin Kadam – who had booked flats in Acropolis project in Virar through a subvention scheme in which buyers paid eight per cent of the flat consideration and the banks paid the remaining 92 per cent. The order was to be executed by the developer within 30 days from the date of the order.

The subvention scheme itself is a very big scam, in this scheme the builder gets almost 95% of the loan amount on signing of the agreement without laying a brick, unlike regular home loan where the bank pays to the builder as per progress of the work, the builder lures the home buyers on promise to pay EMI till he hands over the possession, but when builder fails to construct or give possession on time the liabilities comes on the home buyer and the home buyers becomes defaulter and not the builder, in subvention scheme builder charges 10% more then the market value which the buyer realises on the later stage, subvention scheme is design to cheat home buyers.

The developer approached MahaRERA again on October 11 and got a stay on the order till October 24. On October 24, the matter was heard again, and the developer sought extension of stay on the execution of the judgment till the end of 60-day appeal period, citing financial crunch to pay the decretal amount that needs to be paid before the Maharashtra Real Estate Appellate Tribunal.

According to Section 43 of RERA, the appellant has to deposit 50 per cent of the amount with the tribunal before the appeal can be heard.

During the hearing before MahaRERA member Madhav Kulkarni, Sulaiman Bhimani, who appeared for the home buyers, strongly opposed the stay petition arguing that home buyers will suffer monetary losses since they had purchased the flats with bank loans and are paying EMIs. He argued that Rahul Bhosale, who had taken two bank loans, had received a foreclosure letter from the bank stating that if dues are paid before a cut-off date, he will get a concession of Rs seven lakh. He argued that home buyers will suffer immediate losses if the stay is extended.

Kulkarni then directed the developer to file an undertaking to make good any losses suffered by the home buyers till the end of the 60-day appeal period which ends on November 26. The stay was granted after developer complied with the undertaking.

Sulaiman Bhimani Legal Consultant
Expert RERA & Co-operative Scty Matters
Human and Civil Rights Activist
President Citizens Justice Forum 
9323642081
Sulaimanbhimani11@gmail.com

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Yesterday, my mother-in-law got a phone call from "Bajaj Electricals" which is a well known company in India. She was asked three questions (which she answered wrongly). Her answers were declared correct and she was invited to claim a gift vouchers from some "Bajaj office" in the evening. It sounded like she was getting to select from a variety of goods up to a value of Rs. 4,000/-. She was busy and my husband and I went instead. What we found was a royal scam.

We were supposed to land up in the basement hall of the Great Imperial Palace Hotel in Teili Galli in Andheri (6th Sept 2007 - in case anyone wants to investigate this further). We entered to find a variety of couples engaged in different degrees of conversation with salesmen of varying degrees of aptitude.

It all began with a smooth talking salesman writing a lot on bits of paper creating flowcharts and lists and sweeping them away to create more on new pieces of paper. We were explained how Bajaj has plenty of ventures like Electricals, motors and god knows what else, and now there is a new one - Highland Holidays. This of course was total bull shit, as none of their papers had anything to do with Bajaj beyond its being the surname of one of its founders.

I think its an obvious scam when the name Bajaj Electricals was directly used by them to generate a sense of credibility. Then came too good to be true offers on holidays (which may or not be real, but certainly smelled like a rat). We were offered 8 days a year for 10 years for an "initial investment" of Rs. 42,000/- Needless to say neither of us were about to part from our cash. which eventually got negotiated to a "mere" Rs.14,000/- for 6 days for 5 years.

What got me itchy and suspicious and getting on google search immediately on returning home were these things:

  1. The phone call itself pretended to distribute gift vouchers for Bajaj Electricals for three correct answers, but offered them even when the answers were wrong
  2. We are not listed for any schemes, contests or anything, and the organizers had no clear answer for how they got our number.
  3. Nowhere on the location was any banner related with Bajaj (which is the name we were expecting to find) to be found. We honestly stumbled upon the event while enquiring about it.
  4. Bajaj Electricals, the name used to draw unsuspecting people to the event - was in no way related to it, nor were any gift vouchers from Bajaj electricals distributed.
  5. For a company that seemed to have gone through great effort to book a venue and organize individual presentations for participants, there was not a single piece of printed paper they actually gave anyone. No visiting cards, no printed documents of schemes, no nothing - not even mobile numbers.
  6. It was clearly specified that the "outstanding offer" was open only right then, and the answer had to be yes or no on the completion of the presentation - no going home and taking a day to think or anything (more likely - no investigating this company for reliability)
  7. The "gift vouchers" were for a holiday for two at one of some specified locations, where we still would be expected to be paying money.
  8. The "presentation" itself was more like street haggling, where you are offered higher investment opportunities and when they are refused, cheaper ones come up.
  9. Why would any reputable company have an investment opportunity open for an evening where a decision is to be made without looking at any offer document, without any verification, office address, official representatives, or even simple visiting cards? The way I see it, if they can't afford a basic official set up, my investment is unlikely to be safe with them.
  10. Strangely, even their "managers" who came in to dramatic effect with approvals of surveys, and special offers, etc. didn't even bother to provide surnames. I have yet to see any professional investment related thing being presented or negotiated without any written documentation or proposal of the exact offering and terms for consideration before investing in it. No official venue, no visiting cards, nothing.
  11. For an investment related event taking place in a hotel, not even tea or coffee was offered. We were asked if we wanted water.
  12. In short, they were simply trying to his susceptible people and get money out of them as fast as possible.

The sad part is that I found some middle class couples and one really aged one taking these offers very seriously. I hope for their sakes that this offer goes against all logic and turns out to be genuine.

PS: A reader Kalyana has shared this link to an article from the Deccan Herald where Holiday Homes was asked to refund payment by the consumer court.