Criminal Cases under MOFA
Very few criminal cases are filed against builders and land owners under the Provisions of MOFA (Maharashtra Ownership Flats (Regulation of the promotion of construction, sale, management and transfer) Act, 1963) and other sections of the IPC.
I do not know the exact reasons. Most flat owners, and even lawyers, are not aware that violation of the provisions of MOFA is a criminal offence. Other flat owners are too scared of the builders and are often threatened by them.
In one of the rare cases, in August 2015, Sree Jugal Sreegopal Saraf, a resident of Pedder Road, Mumbai registered a cheating case against Praful Satra, Chairman and Managing Director of Satra Group of Companies and his colleagues.
According to the Complainant Sree Jugal Sreegopal Saraf, Praful Satra and his company, had approached him for an upcoming commercial project in Borivli called the Dream Mall.
Sree Jugal Sreegopal Saraf and his six friends booked six shops for a total amount of Rs. 6,91,79,500. Only after making the payments, Sree Jugal Sreegopal Saraf and his six friends realized that the builder had cheated them by showing them forged documents because the project was under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) Scheme.
The Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police made investigations and arrested Praful Satra on 5 January 2016 for cheating 7 persons to the tune of Rs. 6.92 crores by selling an SRA Scheme as Commercial plot on the basis of forged documents.
Praful Satra’s Juhu JVPD Project
In 2011, Praful Satra, who developed a Juhu residential tower, was dragged to the Bombay high court for large-scale violations, including having car parking decks outside flats that allegedly could be later amalgamated into the flats’ carpet areas. The matter is now pending in the Supreme Court. Before the Supreme Court, Praful Satra has cited instances of 18 similar projects in Mumbai’s western suburbs to justify his case.
Of the 196 parking slots in this building, 99 are on habitable floors (stilt and podium), with nine on each floor. The average size of a flat in the tower was shown as around 2,000 sq ft. However, the builder provided an equivalent space outside each flat for car decks.
The BMC said the total car deck area in the building was around 75,000 sq ft, which fetched the builder an additional Rs 150 crore (sold at the prevailing rate of about Rs 20,000 per sq ft in Juhu). Besides basement and podium parking, the builder was allowed to construct nine car park decks on each floor of the building, which has three wings of 11 floors each and 33 flats. The project was approved when Jairaj Phatak was BMC chief.
Satra’s JVPD Scheme project has become a test case for builders who build car parking slots adjoining apartments on higher floors. Civic activists allege that these slots are not really for parking, but are sold illegally at market rates and later surreptitiously amalgamated into the flat by the owner in connivance with the developer.
The entire news article about Satra’s arrest is available at the following link: