NCP leader and state cabinet minister Chhagan Bhujbal’s son and former MLA Pankaj Bhujbal and nephew and former MP Sameer Bhujbal were discharged by a sessions court on Wednesday in a 2015 fraud case.
The case, which was originally registered by the Taloja police station, was taken over by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW). The FIR in the case was filed in June, 2015, by one Mohammad Shaikh regarding the flats booked by him and his wife. The Bhujbals and three others were charged for cheating, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy amongst the provisions of the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act (MOFA).
The Bhujbals and their co-accused were directors of Devisha Infrastructure Private Limited and projected that they will develop Hexworld on 25 acres of land at Rohinjan, Kharghar. The EOW alleged they did so when they did not have the land or permissions. They cheated home buyers by selling 2344 flats and collecting over Rs 44.04 crores. The possession of these flats was not handed over within the three years of booking and the construction was at a preliminary level. It also alleged that 10 per cent amount was taken from the customers and no agreement was made for the same.
Appearing for the Bhujbals, advocate Sajal Yadav had argued that the offences charged against them were not applicable and that there was no sufficient grounds to proceed against them. He also argued that while the prosecution’s case is that the company accepted 10 percent of the amount without an agreement, that the law at the time permitted accepting 20 percent consideration without an agreement. The company also returned booking amounts paid by 200 customers who demanded so, including the complainant, it was argued. The court was further informed that administrative delays had stalled the project, the land attached and the default happened for reasons beyond their control, that there was no culpable intention of the applicants. Further, the company had spent Rs. 135 crores for obtaining the land till it got attached and Rs. 56 crores for construction activity against the amount collected from home buyers, advocate Yadav had told.
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