Mumbai: MahaRERA with buyers against bank notice to auction properties
Despite regulatory authority's direction, Pune-based bank issues notice for auctioning property as the developer goes bankrupt
In a rare instance, the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has directed the Pune People's Cooperative Bank who took possession of nearly five acres of land and five under-construction buildings in Alibaug from a developer who defaulted payment of R7 crores, to let the association of allottees complete the project, which MahaRERA had earlier directed and cooperate with them for the same.
Out of 230 flats, around 135 have been sold and the association was formed with 85 members. This is a rare order, as the bank claimed to have High Court order to seek possession of the land and property and yet within a few days of the MahaRERA order, the bank put a public notice for auctioning the property, which the association opposed and put a counter advertisement requesting public to refrain from responding to the notice.
Shankar Gawade (53), a resident of Ghatkopar, who is also a banker and Secretary of Cida DE Vida Apartment owners association said, "It is unfair that the customers are made a scapegoat and are being deprived of completing the incomplete project that has been stalled by the developer for last three years. Many of them are paying interest to the banks for the housing loan and now Pune People's Cooperative Bank, after acknowledging to support the completion of the project before MahaRERA has gone against their word and put an auction advertisement, which we have objected.
Gawade added, "The project is spread on nearly five acres of land at Kavir village, Alibaug and this was the first project for M/s Disha Direct Marketing Services (P) Ltd. The developers had planned to make the project with a Goan theme and were to construct a replica of Goa architecture, with artificial beach, landscaping and the plan was to build a resort in the other plot eventually. They marketed the project in this manner attracted several buyers."
"The project was to have 3 BHK studio apartments for R20 lakh to R40 lakhs. I was amongst the few buyers, who invested during the initial stage and was happy with the work speed when it started in 2012. But by 2017, the construction stopped," explained Gawade. He further added, "We later learnt that the developers had gone bankrupt and that the bank, had given a loan to the developers and had claimed the rights under the Securitisation Act. We have residents who availed mortgaged loan from the bank for buying the house, and how can the bank claim rights over the land and structure, for recovering their loan and take over the property worth over R40 crores," said Gawade.
'We are suspecting a nexus between the developer and the bank, as the project could be auctioned at a throwaway price, where the bank can easily recover their dues, and later the developer can benefit with the kickbacks, leaving the flat buyers in a lurch," Gawade added.
Advocate Avinash Pawar, who represented the owners association before MahaRERA said, "We strongly condemn the actions of the bank to publish the notice. We will take legal recourse, including filing a petition before Bombay High Court."
What MahaRERA order says
In his order (copy with this paper) Dr Vijay Satbir Singh, Member 1, MahaRERA clubbed three complaints together and stated "The complainant has filed the complaint seeking directions from MahaRERA to the respondent (M/s Disha Direct Marketing Services (P) Ltd) to handover the possession along with the interest and protect the rights of the members of the association. The other two complainants have sought a refund of the amount paid by them."
During the hearing, it was noticed that according to information on MahaRERA website, the validity of the project has lapsed on December 31, 2019. Also, the developer had not uploaded Form 4 and occupancy certificate on the website which showed that the project is still incomplete.
It was also informed to MahaRERA that, the complainants (owners association) had already formed an association of allottees and filed the complaint through the association. Further, the possession of the said project is with the respondent no. 2 M/s Pune People's Cooperative Bank and the bank has no objection if the association can complete the project or appoint a new promoter, which can protect their rights.
Acted as per the law
When contacted Sanjay Jaqtab, Deputy General Manager, of the bank said, "We sanctioned a total of R7 crores towards the project for the developer. But the company defaulted payment for the last two years and we had to carry out the recovery proceedings as per law before the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) and also before the Bombay HC."
The amount defaulted by the developer
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