Mumbai: House buyer wins David vs Goliath battle, lands builder in jail

Namdev Pakhre (50) had accused three directors of a construction firm for cheating him by taking R48 lakh as advance for a flat in 2010 and not beginning construction even four years later; one of the accused was arrested earlier this month and stayed behind bars for a week

In cases of disagreements between house buyers and builders, their battles tend to resemble that of David and Goliath, with the latter having a massive advantage in terms of resources. In a case in Andheri, however, the underdog has won out, even if briefly, with a builder remaining in jail for a week on charges of cheating a house buyer.

Namdev Pakhre (50) a resident of Parel, had registered a case with the Amboli police station in May last year, accusing Abhishek Vyas, Sandeep Chavan and one Rahul, directors of A & A Shelters Private Limited, for taking Rs 48 lakh from him as advance payment for a flat in Andheri in 2010 and not beginning construction on the site even four years later.

The complainant, Namdev Pakhre, told mid-day that construction on the site has not begun even now
The complainant, Namdev Pakhre, told mid-day that construction on the site has not begun even now

Pakhre had heard of A & A Shelters constructing a building on Veera Desai Road, Andheri (West) and booked the 1,200-sq ft, 2-BHK flat, the asking price for which was around Rs 1.2 crore, by paying an advance of Rs 48 lakh in 2010. Pakhre claimed in his complaint that he had paid Rs 5 lakh by cheque, for which he has a receipt, and the remaining amount in cash.

No movement
“I have a receipt for Rs 5 lakh. Since 2010, I kept following up with the builders, but they never told me when I would get the flat,” Pakhre told mid-day. Pakhre has said in his complaint that when he visited the site last year, he didn’t find any construction activity going on. All he saw was level ground and the site showed no signs of any construction taking place anytime soon. That was when he decided to file the complaint.

Arrest
While Chavan and one other accused managed to get interim relief from arrest, Vyas was arrested in the first week of July. He was released on bail on Monday. “The FIR was registered in January and, finally, one of the directors was arrested this month. A few others have also been duped by the builder and construction hasn’t begun even now,” claimed Pakhre.

Investigating officer Vijay Kadam, from Amboli police station, said, “We investigated the case. One of the accused was arrested and he was behind bars for seven days before being released on bail.” Officials said that the case was registered Sections 420 (cheating) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code.

The other side
When mid-day spoke to Sandeep Chavan, he claimed that he had left A & A Shelters two to three years ago and was a victim himself. “I am a victim myself; I did introduce Pakhre to the company, but blaming me is wrong as I am also fighting against Abhishek Vyas, who has my money too.

I have got interim relief from the court. I am a cancer patient and I do not know how many more days, months, or years I have to live. I don’t know why my name is in the FIR.” Repeated attempts to contact Vyas proved futile.

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