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Mumbai builder cheats hockey hero of his life savings

CWG silver-medallist Dhananjay Mahadik, who has represented India in 64 international events and was also in the army for 15 years, gave Rs 41 lakh to the builder for two flats in 2011. Countless promises and a few bounced cheques later, he is yet to see either the money or the flats

Treating our sportsmen badly seems to have become the norm. In the latest instance, a hockey veteran, who has World Cup participation and a CWG silver medal under his belt, has been cheated by a builder of his savings of Rs 41 lakh, which he had given for two flats at Grant Road.

Hockey player Dhananjay Mahadik Builder Vinay Tripathi
Hockey player Dhananjay Mahadik (left) paid for two flats which were supposed to be given to him by builder Vinay Tripathi’s firm after this Grant Road building (below) went into redevelopment. Three years after the builder took the money, the building is still standing

Dhananjay Mahadik, who has represented India in 64 international hockey events, and was also part of the Indian Army for 15 years, had saved up the money from his match fees and awards as well as his army retirement. The construction firm, Mark Constructions, to which Mahadik had given the money, is part-owned by senior BJP leader Vinay Tripathi.

Tripathi, incidentally, represented the company when the sales agreement was signed and Mahadik has been in touch with him since then. Mahadik, who is currently employed with the Mumbai sales tax office as assistant commissioner, had paid the money for two flats in a redevelopment project, Mark Galaxy, in Grant Road in 2011, which he was supposed to get possession of by 2014.

He was on tour for most of that year and when he came back to Mumbai the next year, he saw that there had been no movement on the project. He felt he had been cheated, but waited patiently for another year. When he saw the building, which was supposed to go into redevelopment, still standing in 2013, he decided to act.

Bounced cheques
Mahadik then approached Tripathi and asked for the money. Several promises later, he got a cheque, which bounced. A few other cheques issued by Tripathi’s firm also bounced. Finally, this year, Tripathi promised that he would return the money by June 10 a date that passed without Mahadik seeing a single paisa from it.

“I had got prize money from the central government, state government and various departments for representing the country in hockey. I also served in the Indian Army for 15 years, retiring as a Naik Subedar. I gave the prize money and the fund I got after my retirement to the builder for two flats at his project in Slater Road, near Grant Road station.

I made the booking in 2011 and was promised that the flats would be handed over by 2014,” said Mahadik, who participated in the 2010 World Cup and was part of the silver-medal winning hockey team at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

“I realised only in 2012, after I came back from my tours, that the building wasn’t going to be constructed as the redevelopment building was still standing. After repeated requests to return the money went unheeded, I finally asked for help from some friends in the police.

After this, the builder promised that he would return the money on June 10 this year, but he has stopped answering my calls. Even now, the redevelopment building is standing,” said Mahadik.

Mahadik says he opted for the Slater Road flats because his current residence in Bhandup isn’t very convenient as the ground he goes to is located in south Mumbai and his current office is in Mazgaon.

The other side
Vinay Tripathi, one of the joint promoters of Mark Constructions, said, “I want to return his money but I am involved in litigation with my other directors, which caused the project to be delayed. I am sure the project will be completed soon and I will return Mahadik’s money in the coming days. I also don’t want a sportsman to suffer.”

Repeat offences
mid-day had reported last month that champion paralympic swimmer, 13-year-old Vaishnavi Jagtap, who had got a chance to be India’s sole representative at a prestigious junior international competition in US, was being held back by lack of funds and civic and state apathy.

The case of young hockey champ Yuvraj Walmiki was also reported by this paper in 2011. The family was living in a 16X16 sq ft shanty in Marine Lines, sans water and electricity. They were struggling to put together Rs 1,000 to treat their son to a good ‘welcome-back’ meal after his good performance in the Asian Champions Trophy in China.

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