Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court
File pic

Mumbai: In what can impact the real estate sector in the city, the Bombay High Court has sought to know from the civic body its stand on whether builders, who cheat tenants or construct illegal structures can be blacklisted. The HC has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to spell out its stand on an affidavit.

A bench of Justices Shahrukh Kathawalla and Burgess Colabawalla said, “The BMC is directed to file its affidavit setting out the policy framed, if any, qua blacklisting of the builders, who indulge in producing fabricated documents in court on the letterhead of the BMC and also in constructing unauthorised structures,” Justice Kathawalla said.

The important order was passed while dealing with a petition filed by a group of tenants from Bandra and Andheri, who have been allegedly cheated by a developer — Kamla Real Estate Hub Private Limited.

Reportedly, the firm has duped original tenants and also private purchasers to the tune of Rs 2000 crore. Notably, Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan has also been duped by the same builder to the tune of Rs 1.5 crore. He was promised a flat in a Juhu high-rise; however, the same was never given to the actor.

While hearing the pleas, the bench noted, “At least 39 FIRs have been filed against the developers for cheating the flat purchasers for not providing flats after collecting crores of rupees from them. The developers have also cheated original tenants by taking possession of their tenements and demolishing the same by promising to redevelop the properties.” “These promises are breached by the builders leaving the tenants roofless for the last several years. The builders — Jitendra Jain and Ketan Shah, are behind the bars from last three years. And the fraud involved is of approximately

Rs 2000 crore,” the bench noted. The bench further noted that the developers had also issued fabricated commencement certificates (CC) to the tenants. And these forged CC have been questioned by the BMC by filing a petition in a lower court. The bench also noted that fresh certificates, styled as 'part occupation certificates' (Part OC) have been issued allegedly by the BMC's ward office to the firm.

During the course of the hearing, the BMC informed the bench that the documents which are alleged to have been issued by the engineers of the Bandra ward office are fabricated documents.

Having noted the same, the bench then enquired with Jitendra Jain, one of the promoters of the firm, who is out on bail, whether the documents styled as Part OC were genuine. “Jain is unable to give an answer. However, he has informed us that the Mumbai Police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) is investigating all the cases including the alleged fraud perpetrated on the occupants or flat purchasers,” Justice Kathawalla noted.

In his submissions, Jain also issued a no objection to the EOW and the BMC to ascertain the genuineness of these documents too. He further urged the bench to direct the BMC to decide applications filed by the tenants and flat buyers for regularisation of their structures.

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