MahaRERA order favours the developer, alleges homebuyer

Mumbai: A Delhi-based homebuyer of plush Lower Parel’s skyscraper is quite dejected after MahaRERA passes its orders favouring the developer. Vikas Bhagchandka claims to have invested somewhere between Rs 35-40 crore for his flat at the Lodha Group World One skyscraper at Lower Parel. After several talks with the developer to refund his money, Vikas knocked the door of Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) MahaRERA complaing of delayed possession.

In his official complaint to the authority, Vikas also alleged that the flats are not in livable condition due to violation of fire and other safety measures. The Delhi-based homebuyer was shocked on reading the orders that not only favoured the developer but also advised him to take possession of the flat.

“The order passed is entirely manipulated and unfortunately the person who passed the order was not an authorised person. A bureaucrat who is a member of MahaRERA had passed an order in this matter. Though I raised this issue of jurisdiction, despite that, the member continued to pass the order. Besides this, I sought a refund, but without listening to my grievances the order was passed, favouring the builder,” says a disappointed Vikas Bhagchandka.

What shocked Vikas is that there was no argument in any of the points which were raised by three of the complainants including him. To prove his point about how the order was passed ignoring the violation that has been carried out by the developer in this project, Vikas alleged that one of the complainant’s flat has been built in a refuge area illegally. And still, no cognisance was taken of the violation made by the builder.

The homebuyer purchased a flat comprising 4,700 square feet carpet area in this luxurious residential township project costing Rs 35-40 crore in 2012 and the possession of which was promised in 2015. While the builder contended that the project got delayed due to pending height clearance from the airport authority of India (AAI) for obtaining 285.06 metres in January 2017.

The developer also moved the Delhi High Court to get directions to conduct an aeronautical study through the international civil aviation organisation for this purpose. All this resulted in the delay in the project and restriction of the heights of construction to 284.29 metres only. The aggrieved homebuyer pointed out that the RERA was set-up by the government in order to provide relief to homebuyers who invest their hard earned money.

“The aim of passing orders is to prevent the interest of homebuyers from the clutches of such builders, but it seems they are making a mockery of the RERA act,” he said. Upset with the RERA’s judgment, the homebuyer has stated that he will complain it to the Prime Minister’s Office apart from challenging the order in the higher authority.

The MahaRERA member Dr Vijay Satbir Singh passed the order in this matter on April 30, 2019. According to the order copy, it reads that the homebuyer will get the interest at the rate of 10. 5 per cent for the period of delay in handing over the possession of the apartments to the complainants. Moreover, the complainants have been advised to take possession of their flats.

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