Sending a strong signal to a section of the builder lobby, which takes home buyers for a ride, the Santacruz (west) police have filed an FIR against one Rafique M. Qureshi, director, Mandelia Constructions (India), for allegedly cheating a man who had booked a flat in 2006, made to wait for six years and then told the flat no longer belonged to him. The estate agent has in his complaint also alleged that he had made all payments and had even received an allotment letter.
In his complaint, Shamim Akhtar Ansari, (47), has alleged that in 2006, he purchased a 689 Sq Ft flat, in a plush property called Mandelia Pride in Vakola, Santacruz (E). “At that time, the total cost of the flat was a little over Rs 27 lakh and as per our agreement I paid Rs 20 lakh by cash and Rs 7 lakh via cheques. I was also issued receipts for the same,” said Ansari.
Soon an allotment letter was issued categorically stating that the builder had received full payment for the purchased property.(Sunday MiD DAY has a copy of the letter).
The alleged deceit
Around April 2008, Ansari came to know through sources that the accused had entered into a ‘joint development agreement’ with Runwal Developers for a sum of nearly Rs 34 crore (SMD has the agreement copy) and the property will now be called Runwal Symphony. “On being confronted, the builder assured me that my interests would be protected and the right to possession honoured. Since Mandelia is a well-known builder I had no reason to doubt his integrity,” said Ansari.
But after waiting for three years for a possession letter to arrive, Ansari was told one fine day that the third party developer had no agreement to honour earlier commitments made by Mandelia. That is when he decided to take the legal route and approached the Bandra metropolitan magistrate.
“The property was sold to my client for Rs 1095 per sq ft in 2006. Today its value is over Rs 12,000 per sq ft. That is perhaps why the builder is unwilling to honour the commitment,” said advocate Junaid Shabwany who is representing Ansari.
Shabwany argued that false documents had been produced, claiming to bear his client’s wife’s signature (a co-owner) cancelling the deal. This document he said, had been found to be fake by a forensics handwriting expert and the evidence produced in court (SMD has a copy), which in turn directed the police to lodge the FIR.
Arun Chavan, senior inspector, Santacruz police station, confirmed that based on court orders issued earlier this month, the police had registered an FIR on Tuesday under Section 420 of the IPC (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), along with Sections 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC, which pertain to cheating and forgery of valuable security. “We have already recorded the statement of the complainant and initiated an inquiry,” said Chavan.
While Rafique Qureshi’s mobile was switched off, a manager in the office, Krishnalal Sharma, admitted that the complainant had been issued an allotment letter, but was now refusing to sign the agreement papers, which had led to the current situation.