Mumbai: Cops delay filing former inspector's FIR for 3 years
Kurla police register cheating case against Kurla builder only after Bombay HC's May judgement declaring such matters criminal
Filing an FIR is not tough for the common man alone; the road is equally uphill if you're a retired police officer. Just ask Gani Mujavar, 66, a retired inspector, who had to run from pillar to post to get an FIR registered against a builder who cheated him over a Rs 5 lakh flat he bought 14 years ago. Mujavar had been trying to get the case filed since 2015, but the breakthrough only came in last week, after endless harassment.
Mujavar retired from the police force as a police inspector in 2010, and was last posted with Shivajinagar police station in the city. He bought the 680 sq ft flat in 2004 from a local builder, who was redeveloping a slum in Buddha Nagar, Kurla, at a cost of Rs 5 lakh. That year, Mujavar was posted at the Kurla police station as an assistant police inspector.
"I paid Rs 1 lakh as a token amount in 2004 and was promised a 680 sq ft flat for Rs 12 lakh. In 2004, we signed an agreement and I paid another R1 lakh by cheque and R3 lakh in cash," he said. The rest of the amount was supposed to be paid after the construction began. However, there was no progress for two years due to legal and technical issues, according to the builder.
In 2014, around a decade since he bought the flat, the project still hadn't taken off. Neither did Mujavar get his money back. That year, he sent three legal notices to the builder but there was no reply. In 2015, after realising he was being cheated, he approached the Kurla police to file an FIR against the builder. But he was turned away by the cops after being told he can only file an application directly, not an FIR.
"For the first nine to ten months there was no action, and I showed the police various government resolutions (GR), but no case was filed," said Mujavar, adding that they finally took his statement and sent a report to the DCP saying a case had been filed under cheating sections.
But no action was taken after that either, "Only when I followed up, a second report was sent," said Mujavar, adding, "Even after that, when a case was not filed, I went to an ACP at the time who asked me where I got the R5 lakh from and offered to get the builder to return the money. Fed up of the harassment, in 2016 I met then CP DD Padsalgikar who asked for a written application. The police took my statement thrice."
Even then, there was no FIR. Mujavar was later told that it was a civil matter and a case cannot be filed. The breakthrough came in May, when the Bombay High Court ruled in a judgment that such cases cannot be dismissed as civil disputes. The Kurla police had to give in and file the case at last on June 28.
Mujavar said, "I expected sympathy as I am a retired police officer but they made me record the statement thrice and harassed me. The FIR was filed only after the Bombay HC passed an order saying builders who fail to give flats should be booked," he said, adding he felt sad speaking against his own department. "In three years, the police usually solve a murder case but my case was not even registered," said Mujavar, who currently resides with his family in a rented flat in Deonar.
The FIR has been filed under sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and section 4 of the Maharashtra Ownership Flat Act against the accused builder, who the police have declined to name. Dattatray Shinde, senior police inspector of Kurla police station, who took charge a few days ago, confirmed the FIR and said they would now probe the case and make an arrest after permission from senior officials.
Number of years since Gani Mujavar bought the flat
Rs 5 lakh
Total amount Mujavar has paid for the flat so far
Rs 12 lakh
Total cost of the promised flat
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