Routine bid to seek conveyance leads to MHADA probe – Residents turn sleuths to bust Rs 550-cr real estate scam in Mahim

Sep 01 2014 : Mirror (Mumbai)
Routine bid to seek conveyance leads to MHADA probe – Residents turn sleuths to bust Rs 550-cr real estate scam in Mahim
  •  14 yrs after rehabilitating original tenants of Mahim’s Marinagar, Suraj Developers recently sought permission for two new buildings claiming six tenants were yet to be provided houses
What started off as a routine exercise for residents of aMahim building, who were seeking conveyance from their developer, has unearthed a major real estate scam worth Rs 550 crore.The developer, 14 years after con structing a rehab building and two wings of a sale building, approached authorities to construct two new buildings and take advantage of higher FSI.

The reason given was that six tenants from old structures needed to be rehabilitated, and he was constructing new buildings to house them while the rest would be sold. The tenants, however, had been rehabilitated in 1996, exposing developer’s lie.

The project pertains to land owned by St Michael’s Church at Marinagar, opposite Mahim station, and given to Suraj Estate Developers in 1991. The understanding was the developer would demolish 13 cottages, rehabilitate the tenants, and construct sale component to recover costs. Five buildings of three storeys each in the compound were to remain untouched.

The developer obtained permission from MHADA to build a rehab building, a multi-storey sale building, and another two-storey sale building, and started construction in 1993.

By 1996, he constructed a multistorey sale building and a rehab building. Most thought that it was the end of development, but for the twostorey building.

However, in 2010, he submitted fresh plans to MHADA saying that six tenants from an old cottage were still to be rehabilitated. He sought permission for two buildings to rehabilitate them, and sell the rest. The buildings of 17 and 15 storeys were allowed on open spaces set aside for gardens. The developer did not commence construction immediately, but only barricaded the space.

Recently, residents of two wings of the sale building -Our Lady of Vailankanni and Perpetual Succour sought conveyance. “Since the developer opposed it, we dug up documents and found that two new buildings with FSI of 1.8 lakh were sanctioned on grounds that six tenants were to be rehabilitated. But documents show that the tenants were rehabilitated over a decade ago. It’s nothing but a scam. After loading on 1.8 lakh FSI, the developer will be able to sell 2.5 lakh sq ft for Rs 25,000 psf which, after deducting construction cost, would get him Rs 550 crore,“ said A M Sodder, secretary of the sale building. Residents further allege that FSI of five old buildings not part of the agreement was also used by the developer.

“Tomorrow if the old buildings need redevelopment, there won’t be FSI left for them. Most importantly, construction of two new buildings is allowed on areas demarcated as gardens,“ said Alred Pareira, a resident.

The residents of the old buildings and two wings of the sale building have now complained to MHADA, alleging that their officials colluded with the developer. MHADA, in turn, have ordered a probe. Ramesh Surwade, who is holding charge of chief officer, repair board, said, “I will hear all sides on September 5, and then pass an order.“

Suraj Estate Developers, on their part, claim everything is in order. Thomas Rajan, chairman and MD, said they had not touched FSI of five old buildings while getting two new ones sanctioned. “The buildings were considered while calculating FSI, but their area later deducted. As for construction on garden spaces, we have now moved the location across the plot and kept aside mandatory area for open spaces,“ said Rajan.

Regarding the six residents, Rajan admitted they were rehabilitated in 1996. “But I gave them houses from my share of sale component. I had promised that when rules are amended and higher FSI granted, I will give them bigger houses. Now in the two new buildings, I will give them bigger flats and take back the old ones,“ said Rajan.

While Rajan is convinced there are no irregularities, MHADA officials reveal that tenants cannot be rehabilitated multiple times and a new scheme floated.

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About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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3 Responses to Routine bid to seek conveyance leads to MHADA probe – Residents turn sleuths to bust Rs 550-cr real estate scam in Mahim

  1. There is definitely a unholy hand behind this alleged scam. What has the Archbishop of Bombay Oswald Gracias and his three wise men to say. Who has guided them or may be “misguided” them. We need answers.

  2. Berryl says:

    Who are the real culprits; the Archbishops house and the local church OR the builders? Why have they not been questioned by the press OR were they avoiding the press?

    How long will the church think that they are above the law of the land and yet use the laws of the land as per their convenience to achieve their own Machiavellian ends?

    Sitting at table to discuss or dialogue is only a bait to crush the opponent with clever scheming!

  3. Hello Berryl and friends, On Friday the tenants of marinagar went a a joint group to meet MHADA.They were given a patient hearing, The Parish priest of St Michaels Church mahim, his lawyer and the builder were also present. The head of Mhada has assured that he would get to the bottom of this multi corre church land scam. After the meeting which lasted to about a hour, the tenants come down to St Michaels Church Maham to meet their parish priest.The traveled in private busses, cars and two wheelers.
    The parish priest came down to meet the angry parishioners, accompanied with his lawyer.The parishioners booed the lawyer and asked him to leave immediately, he did oblige. Then a priest George came down to render support to the parish priest, he was also booed away and was told if he was unhappy in the parish he could’Get Out”. He remained silent after that.
    The parish priest priest was caught on the wrong foot at the question the parishioners put to him, his act of softly speaking could have beaten any actor. He did not have answers for a lot of simple questions and was speaking in rhetoric. Tempers were very very high among the parishioners and it was agreed by all that the next meeting would take place on Tuesday 09 September 2014 at the church.
    The question still remains, even if the scam occurred, who guided the scam and where has the money gone, This needs to be answered by The Diocesan estate office, the finance office and our dear Cardinal Oswald Gracias .
    Will provide update as it happens.

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