The life of 57-year-old Paras Porwal is a rags-to-riches story spread over four decades. Those who have known him closely recalled that he once used to sell nose rings made from imitation jewellery material. He rose in ranks to become one of the topmost builders dabbling into redevelopment and slum rehabilitation in south Mumbai, who even contested assembly polls.
Porwal jumped to his death from his 23rd floor flat in a Chinchpokli tower in south Mumbai, on Saturday.
As per the Election Commission of India’s records, he unsuccessfully contested on a Samajwadi Party ticket from the Mazgaon seat. Of the 64,510 valid votes polled, only 7,887 voters preferred him. The other contenders were Chhagan Bhujbal’s son and NCP candidate Pankaj and MNS' Bala Nandgaonkar, who won the polls. This election also brought it out in the open his proximity with the political circles in Maharashtra.
Though hailing from Rajasthan, he was popular among the local Maharashtrians who saw him as a person who provides better homes to the sons of the soil.
After being a small-time imitation jewellery seller, recalled a person close to him who sought confidentiality, he ventured into construction-related works such as material supply. The venture proved to be a stepping stone to start earning as a commission broker and also gave first-hand experience of India’s most expensive real estate market. During this time, he got close to some of the who’s who that helped his launch in the realty market as a developer.
Most of his projects have been in the city's heart like the areas of Lalbaug, Kalachowki, Parel, Worli, Wadala, etc. Ironically, several of his companies had 'shanti' (peace) in their names. In all, he was part of 23 companies, out of which, his son Ronie is associated in about 10.
About four years ago, the name of the deceased had cropped up in a slum redevelopment scam when the Bombay High Court directed the Mumbai police to book him and others for allegedly cheating and fraud by adding 62 bogus tenants in Worli’s Gandhi Nagar project to claim extra Floor Space Index from the government.
His ongoing projects include Jijamata Nagar, Worli slum redevelopment and Worli Dairy redevelopment. Permission to proceed with construction had recently come in for the former project and he planned to launch the second project after a few months.