Dheeraj Heritage dues are only the tip of the iceberg

Mar 29, 2012, 07:22 IST | Shailesh Bhatia

After BMC put up attachment notice on the building at Milan Subway junction over builders' unpaid dues, it emerges that latter has outstanding taxes of Rs 19 crore for other projects in Santacruz (W)

After BMC put up attachment notice on the building at Milan Subway junction over builders' unpaid dues, it emerges that latter has outstanding taxes of Rs 19 crore for other projects in Santacruz (W)

After MiD DAY reported last week that over 385 shop owners in Dheeraj Heritage in Santacruz (W) might have to see their properties auctioned because of almost Rs 6 crore dues the property's developers owed to the BMC, the net of lapses on the part of the developers seems to have widened, threatening the fate of more.

Billing for trouble: Dheeraj Heritage at Milan Subway, Santacruz (W)

MiD DAY has a copy of the SRA balance sheet issued by its executive engineer, which says that the total dues owed are to the tune of Rs 18.64 crore for the entire development project in Santacruz (W) in and around the bus depot. It includes 17 SRA buildings and 6 saleable residential complexes (one under construction), which could end up with a similar fate for its occupants.

MiD DAY report on March 24

Last week, MiD DAY had reported ('BMC may auction Santacruz building over Rs 6 cr dues', March 24) that property attachment notices were put up by the BMC assessment collector outside the office of Dheeraj Heritage, a five-storeyed commercial complex at the Milan Subway Junction on SV Road. The notice was put up to recover outstanding property taxes amounting to over Rs 5.82 crore by developers Housing Development and Improvement India Ltd (HDIL), Pioneer India Developers Ltd and M/s Chauhan and Bros.

In for inspection
"Based on our complaint and RTI response, the assistant commissioner, H-West ward, BMC has issued a notice under Section 488 of the Mumbai Municipal Act to carry out a detailed inspection of the shopping complex. This would assert other violations pointed out by the tenants. These include illegal use of terrace for weddings and hoardings, absence of conveyance deed and other property papers handed over to the members, and substandard construction that has resulted in huge cracks and a leaky roof in the building, which is less than 10 years old," said Aftab Siddique, a unit holder in Dheeraj Heriage.

Another unit holder Ashwin Shah alleged that the owners were actually misled and given a false sense of security. He produced a copy of the minutes of the special general body meeting dated October 18, 2010 signed by Rafiq Qureshi, the developer, builder and chairman of the complex, which quotes him as stating that there were no outstanding dues in the way of unpaid property taxes.  

Navaz Hiloowala, who owns two units in the commercial complex, alleged that safeguarding their property has become her priority. "There was an initial hesitation from some members to come forward and voice their opinion, but now a collective approach is being formulated to seek justice, not only to approach the civic authorities but also the economic offences wing of the Mumbai Police," she said. Assistant Municipal Commissioner (H-West ward) Sunil Dhamane stated that he did not wish to comment on the issue.

The other side
Ranjeet Jha, site supervisor and HDIL spokesperson, refuted all allegations and stated that his company has been paying Rs 1.2 lakh annual taxes for the last seven years to the BMC. "We have taken up the outstanding issue with the civic authorities and the matter shall be resolved soon. The outstanding amount is due to a dispute we had with the state government over water charges post-2009, when the building did not have any water connection. But we were still taxed for all these years. The unit holders have nothing to fear. Their property will be safe and shall not be auctioned," he assured. For the outstanding taxes for their other Santacruz project, he said the occupants were now responsible to make the payments, and his company was in no way responsible for the same.

Unit owners say
Girish Satti: The builder is using the BMC dispute to avoid paying its outstanding dues, but it is the members who will ultimately suffer.

Nafees Patel: A lot of members have taken loans or mortgaged personal properties to buy shops here. They will be the worst hit if the property is auctioned.

Zakir Rangwala: The auction notice is a bolt from the blue, which threatens to destroy us all financially.

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