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Mumbai: ‘Builder, some flat owners submitted false docus to BMC’

Updated on: 11 January,2023 06:32 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Vinod Kumar Menon |

Police submits enquiry report into alleged irregularities by few residents and developers of a Vidyavihar housing complex while obtaining water connection from BMC

Mumbai: ‘Builder, some flat owners submitted false docus to BMC’

Few residents along with the developer, while seeking water connection from BMC, had said the complex had an occupancy of 80 per cent

Few residents of Neelkanth Kingdom complex in Vidyavihar West, in connivance with the developers, forged signatures and submitted false documents to the BMC to procure a water connection, Ghatkopar police’s investigation has confirmed. The revelation came as the cops in December last year submitted their enquiry report into the allegations levelled by one resident of the same society to the Metropolitan Magistrate court in Vikhroli.

A private criminal case for forgery, criminal conspiracy, cheating, impersonation, fraud and criminal breach of trust was filed based on the complaint by Stuti Galiya, a solicitor and advocate, who owns a flat in the same complex. The developers, their partners and 39 flat owners from the society have been named as accused.

mid-day had highlighted the alleged irregularities in a report on October 6, 2021. The report also mentioned the court’s direction to the police to conduct an enquiry into allegations that signatures of some flat owners were forged to show high occupancy to get water connection from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation

The report

The four-page report by Ghatkopar police has statements of the complainant and other witnesses as recorded by investigating officer Assistant Inspector B B Pukale. Pukale was unavailable for comment. 

Galiya told mid-day, “The investigating police officer submitted the report to the Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Vikhroli last month. The report confirms commission of forgery and submission of fake and false documents to the BMC for procuring water connection on humanitarian grounds. It further stated that while a lot of the signatures were forged, it is not known who forged them.”

“Prospective witnesses, in their statements, have confirmed forgery of their signatures and submission of fake and false documents. The report also has statements of the developers, who put all the blame on flat owners involved in the process of procuring water connection,” she said.

Also Read: Mumbai: ‘I am alive today because of him’

Pressure tactics

Speaking about the statements of the suspects, she said, “One of the suspects, along with a managing committee member of the housing society, attempted to intimidate prospective witnesses and asked them to withdraw their statements. Witnesses are protected under the provisions of law and such a coercive act during the course of judicial proceedings is construed as interfering with administration of justice, which is regarded as a criminal act. The fact relating to alleged intimidation and using pressure tactics on the witnesses has been reported to the investigating police officer as well as the court.”

When asked about the next move, the solicitor said, “We are in the process of filing a separate application for including the said managing committee member, as an additional accused, for intimidating witnesses and interfering with administration of justice.” “The matter is slated for hearing before the month-end. Based on the police investigation report, the court may proceed for issuance of summons/warrant against the accused,” she said.

The case

The complainant has claimed that few residents, in connivance with the developers, had fraudulently taken water connection from BMC by claiming that the towers had nearly 80 per cent occupancy in 2013. She, however, added that there was only 10-20 per cent occupancy at that time and claimed that the signatures of other residents, which included some deceased too, and commercial entities were forged.

The complainant made numerous complaints to BMC authorities and when no action was taken, she moved a private criminal complaint in Vikhroli court in 2021. “I filed the complaint to ensure that wrongdoers are punished and innocent flat owners, who had no idea of such illegalities, do not bear the brunt of the regulator. I have also approached other judicial and regulatory authorities to ensure that the issue of illegal water connection is addressed,” Galiya said.

Lawyer Speak

Advocate Awadhesh Jha, for the complainant, said, “The police report and documentary evidence disclose and confirm large scale criminal conspiracy on the part of some flat owners and developers. BMC officials, despite receiving written complaints supported by documentary evidence, failed to take any action. This is the reason my client had to knock on the doors of the judiciary. My client has also filed a writ petition against BMC in the Bombay High Court for not taking appropriate action against wrongdoers.”

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