Mumbai: ED attaches properties worth Rs 462 cr for irregularities by Pyramid Developers in SRA deal

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached properties worth Rs 462 crores in connection with a money laundering case related to alleged irregularities in a slum rehabilitation project at Bandra by Pyramid Developers. The developers in connivance with Baba Siddique, a former Member of Legislative Assembly had submitted fake documents for availing extra Floor Space Index (FSI) for the project.

Pyramid Developers had submitted fake papers for availing extra Floor Space Index (FSI) for 33 flats under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) scheme. A money laundering case was registered by the ED in March 2017 on the basis of a FIR registered by the Bandra police against Congress leader Baba Siddique and others. As per the FIR, the developer in connivance with Siddique had cheated the State by preparing false ration cards, shop and establishment licences and submitted the same to the SRA to get approval for redevelopment of Jamat-e-Jamhooria Co-operative Housing Society Limited at Bandra (W).

According to an ED official, “The bogus documents were also used to get extra FSI for wrongful gains. Pyramid Developers and Neo Modern Architects who are also accused in the case were appointed for the redevelopment.” The SRA had issued the Letter of Intent on December 4, 2003, sanctioning FSI of 1.875 for the said scheme. In compliance with the SRA’s directives, the developers had approached the Ministry of Environment for clearance of the project. The Ministry accorded clearance on the condition that FSI would not exceed the February 1991 limit. The amendments were made by the in 2007 and 2010.

The FSI had exceeded the permissible limit. A No Objection Certificate was issued for construction in the area measuring 16,742 square metre, whereas the actual construction was undertaken by showing the plot area as 18,662.70 square metre. 81 flats were constructed in the sale building divided equally between Pyramid Developers and Satra Buildcon Pvt. Ltd. The average sale value of each flat is Rs.14 crore. Earlier, the agency had conducted raids at seven locations in Mumbai including Siddique’s office and residential premises and at the premises of Pyramid developers, a real estate firm and a builder connected to him.

A First Information Report was earlier registered at Bandra in 2014. Subsequently, the ED registered a criminal case in 2017 under PMLA against Siddique and twelve other persons. The Bandra police had registered the FIR on directions of the court to probe financial irregularities in the slum rehabilitation project in which Siddique was the Chairman of the Mumbai board of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) between 2000-2004.

In 2012, a complainant had approached a local court stating that the flats allotted in the residential buildings constructed after demolishing a slum in suburban Bandra were granted on the basis of fake documents. Siddique has been a three-time Congress legislator, Minister of State for food and civil supplies (during 2004-08) in the Maharashtra government and also served as a municipal Corporator.

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