Mumbai: Builder issues refund cheques, stops payment

Updated: Jul 08, 2019, 07:51 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Flat-buyers in Malad's Gaurav Discovery have been waiting for close to a year to receive their refunds after withdrawing from failing project

Mumbai: Builder issues refund cheques, stops payment
Construction at Vidhi Developers' Gaurav Discovery in Malad West has been at a standstill for months now

The struggle to receive their refunds from builders doesn't seem to end for some home-buyers in Malad. Sainath Sarode, who had bought a house in M/s Vidhi developers upcoming project Gaurav discovery located in Malad West, received his part payment cheque (R20 lakh) from the developer but the builder gave a stop payment instruction to the bank on Monday. "It has been a year since we are fighting to get back our money," Sarode said.

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While Sarode's dream of owning a house in Mumbai faded when the builder defaulted on the promised date of delivery, even the refund he is entitled to is being delayed. The MahaRERA had directed the developer to give Sarode a refund last year. "It has been a mentally and physically exhausting task. It feels like I am going to lose all my hard-earned money over this dream house I had booked almost eight years ago while I was employed overseas," said a dejected Sarode.

The buyers were given cheques for a part payment against their signatures for receipt on June 27. File pics
The buyers were given cheques for a part payment against their signatures for receipt on June 27. File pics

Currently residing at Kotachi Wadi, Girgaum, Sarode had paid R66 lakh towards the flat cost (1 bhk measuring 680 sq feet) for which he had taken a bank loan of R34 lakh and still owes R10.50 lakh towards the home loan. He continues to pay an EMI of R33,000 till date.

"I would skip my lunch break and visit the talathi office to follow up on the MahaRERA order regarding attaching the developers property (transferring debtor's property to creditor). The developer first delayed the construction work and is now delaying execution of the MahaRERA order," Sarode said, adding, "MahaRERA has issued an order under section 40 of the RERA act wherein I was entitled to R71 lakh from the builder for withdrawing from the project. It would have helped me clear my bank loan."

Sainath Sarode
Sainath Sarode

Seal tampered
After a lot of persuasion and follow up, Suburban Collector, who was directed by MahaRERA to attach the developer's property, it was done through the tahisildar office, Borivli, who directed the talathi office in Kandivli to do the needful. When the developer repeatedly failed to respond, the talathi office sealed a floor and two cabins of the ground plus four storey office of M/s Vidhi developers in Kandivli West.

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However, one of its staff had tampered with the seal to continue using the premises. A flat buyer said, "On June 24, Sarode and a few of us visited the suburban collector (Sachin Kurve) and informed him about tampering of the seal. The collector immediately called in the tahisildar and the entire premises was sealed again."

Stopped payment
Four home-buyers were asked to be present at the tahisildar office on June 27 and accordingly, Rinchen Wangdi, Suryakant Kelkar, Rupa Shetty and another buyer visited him. A part payment cheque of R20 lakh each was given to them on behalf of the builder "and we were made to sign a receipt for the same," he added. However, all of them soon received an intimation from the bank that the payment had been stopped by the builder. "I do not want the property and would want to close this chapter after receiving the refund. I won't accept any part payment hereafter as it only shows that the developer does not adhere to directives from the collector office. It is unfortunate," said a flat buyer.

The buyers' lawyer advocate Godfrey Pimenta said, "This is a serious issue and the builder is liable for proceedings under the Negotiable Instruments Act. The order in this matter was passed in October 2018 for the attachment of the property of the builder. It is almost eight months now but the flat purchasers are yet to receive the refund." Representatives of M/s Vidhi developers did not respond to our calls.

Rs 20 lakh
Amount for which builder issued cheques to four buyers

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