Mumbai: 'Scamming' builders finally brought to book by Worli cops
The case has been filed against Om Omega Shelter partners K C Sethi, R K Sethi, Paras Porwal, Babubhai Jain, and office bearers of housing societies Shiv Ganesh, Shiv Sainath and Shree Ganesh Kripa
The developers allegedly behind a slum redevelopment scam have finally been brought to book. Following the Bombay High Court's intervention, the Worli police station has finally registered a FIR against builders Om Omega Shelters for alleged cheating and fraud in a slum redevelopment project at Worli Naka, which happened between 2009 and 2013. mid-day has been consistently reporting on the scam.
According to the FIR filed on October 5, a copy of which is available with mid-day, Om Omega Shelters, along with office bearers of three housing societies, had added 62 bogus tenants to the Slum Redevelopment Authority (SRA) scheme in Gandhi Nagar, Worli to the final list of the eligible 750. This led to crores in losses for the government since the builder allegedly ended up getting Floor Space Index (FSI) benefits because he rehabilitated more slum dwellers. As per regulation, the greater number of slum dweller a builder rehabilitates in a new construction for free, the greater FSI he gets for a new building on the same land, which he is allowed to sell in the open market.
The case has been filed against Om Omega Shelter partners K C Sethi, R K Sethi, Paras Porwal, Babubhai Jain, and office bearers of housing societies Shiv Ganesh, Shiv Sainath and Shree Ganesh Kripa. The FIR also includes name of the 62 bogus tenants. An official from the police station said, "The FIR has been registered under sections 420 (cheating), 465 (forgery) 177 (furnishing false information), 200 (providing false declaration) of the Indian Penal Code, among others."
The HC's directions came on October 1, after the complainant Samala Narsaiyya Ramulu's lawyers Rammani Upadhyay and Manoj O Singh approached the court over the Worli police not filing an FIR. The cops had been dragging their feet despite the SRA writing to them to register a case, after the authority confirmed the 62 bogus tenants in its probe. The SRA investigation had been ordered after a RTI query blew the lid off the irregularities.
Speaking to mid-day, Upadhyay said, "This is only the tip of the iceberg. After further investigation, more layers of this scam will come out. It is a classic example of management between developer, society members and officials concerned to grab and encroach upon the rights of those for whom the SRA scheme is meant for."
'Entire thing engineered'
Speaking to mid-day, one of the partners of the Om Omega Shelters said, "This entire thing has been engineered only because somebody was not eligible for rooms. That's why a concerted effort is being made to extort money by harassing us. Not even one square foot of the FSI has been approved to the company. There has to be an FIR if there is some cheating, but if there's none then how can an FIR exist? We're going to contest the FIR and bring all the facts in front of the investigating agency... One very important thing, we don't decide on the eligibility, SRA does. Slum dwellers directly give documents to SRA, so then how are we in the picture? That is the funny part. Also, while our name is in the FIR, why hasn't the original partner of the project been named? I've not got any benefits from the FSI. We will approach the court and request the quashing of this FIR."
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