MOFA – No conveyance for 21 years – Director of Satellite Developers sentenced to  two years jail

 

MOFA – No conveyance for 21 years – Director of Satellite Developers sentenced to  two years jail


Builders violate the provisions of the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act (MOFA) with impunity. But MOFA contains harsh punishments which aggrieved purchasers of flats do not resort to for fear of retaliation or ignorance or both.

The following case is a good example how effective MOFA can be.

 


Facts

 

Ravindra Hingwala, one of the flat owners of a building in Ghatkopar, Mumbai, moved the Magistrate’s Court in 2006 against Kiran Amin, Director of Satellite Developers Pvt. Ltd.  (builder) for not completing the conveyance.  The completion certificate of the building was obtained in 1989. The mandatory housing society was registered in 1996. But conveyance has still not been given.

 

Hingwala told the Magistrate that he had purchased the flat from Jasmine Builders Pvt. Ltd. In 1992, Satellite Developers Pvt. Ltd. took over the rights and liabilities of Jasmine Builders Pvt. Ltd.


Hingwala argued that according to Section 11 of the MOFA, Kiran Amin, Director of Satellite Developers Pvt. Ltd. should have conveyed the property to the housing society within four months from the registration of documents.

 

Builders Arguments

 

The Builder contended that the Complainant could not move the court on his own in the absence of the co-operative housing society.

The Builder also contended that the fact that the question of conveyance is presently a subject of arbitration is a reasonable cause for not handing over possession of the plot to the Complainant and therefore, no offence under Section 13(1) of MOFA is made out.

 

The Builder further contended that new buildings were constructed by the accused in 2003 on the same land, which is required to be conveyed to Gayatri Dham, therefore conveyance cannot be executed in favour of it.

 

(Section 13(1) of MOFA provides that if the promoter is able to show reasonable cause because of which it is not possible to give conveyance, same could not constitute an offence under this Act.)  

 

Decision and Jail

 

Sri V V Patil, Magistrate at Vikhroli Court relied on the observations of the Sessions Court which had dismissed the appeal of the accused against the issuance of process in the case. The Sessions Court had observed that a Complainant, being a member of the society, is entitled to get conveyance on his behalf from the promoters under Section 11 of the MOFA. “Promoters are under legal obligation to convey the title and execute the documents in his favour. They did not convey with this legal provision. The Complainant is, thus, an aggrieved person,” the Sessions Court had said.

 

The Magistrate pointed out that the grounds of reasonable excuse raised by the accused has been rejected by the Bombay High Court and Supreme Court over the years in appeals filed by the accused. “Moreover, the offence was committed in June 1996, and there was no other construction on the land except Gayatri Dham building. Therefore, there was no excuse for the accused to withhold the conveyance,” the Magistrate held.

 

The Magistrate said, “For more than 10 years, the complainant is awaiting conveyance of the plot, which the accused failed to give. Considering the facts of the case, the conduct of the accused and intention of the legislature behind enacting the legislation, I am of the view that the accused be dealt with necessary punishment under the Act.”


Sri V V Patil, the Magistrate found Kiran Amin, Director of Satellite Developers Pvt. Ltd, guilty under the provisions of the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act (MOFA) and sentenced him to simple imprisonment for 2 years.

 

I am giving the link to the full decision:

http://services.ecourts.gov.in/ecourtindia/cases/display_pdf.php?filename=/orders/200349000972006_1.pdf&caseno=Summons%20Cases%20SS/4900097/2006&cCode=12&appFlag=

State Police Complaints Authority, Maharashtra

State Police Complaints Authority, Maharashtra

If you are not satisfied with the working of the police, like not registering FIR, etc.

You can send your complaint to the above authority for quick redressal.

Unfortunately, it does not have a proper web site…….

 

16 November 2017

I visited the office of the State Police Complaints Authority personally to file a complaint against the police for not registering an FIR.
The office people were nice.
Let us see the outcome.

MOFA is applicable to all old projects


MOFA is applicable to all old projects

Ahmed Ali| TNN | Feb 5, 2017, 06.30 AM IST


Some Advocates and Police Officers try to avoid filing FIRs under MPFA on the pretext that MOFA has been replaced by RERA. This is not a fact.
As today’s news item shows, MOFA is still alive and applicable.

 

MUMBAI: There is more trouble in the offing for the Jain brothers of Kamla Landmarc, a construction company, who have been arrested for duping investors. The EOW of Mumbai police has written to the ED about possible money laundering involving proceeds from the fraud that they suspect has touched Rs 200 crore.

Jitendra Jain, his brother Jinendra and brother-in-law Ketan Shah were arrested last November for duping investors by accepting bookings but not handing over flats or godowns, and forging property documents like commencement certificate and other development documents from BMC. So far, 16 FIRs have been registered against them. “As our investigation is on, more and more complaints are pouring in. Till now, there are around 150 victims who have been duped. We expect around six-seven more offences to be registered,” said a police officer.


The trio will find it difficult to obtain bail, claimed cops, because the police have invoked stringent sections of the 
Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act (MOFA) in almost all the cases. Now, if ED begins a probe into money laundering, their woes will continue.


The police have frozen 200 bank accounts with Rs 8 crore linked to the builder brothers, FDs worth Rs 6 crore in various banks, 23 properties across the city and seven high-end cars.


Giving examples of the fraud, cops said the Jains accepted bookings for two industrial godowns at Hindustan Naka in Kandivli from two garment traders, but did not give them possession even after the deadline. During inquiries, it transpired that the builder brothers had sold 448 galas in the building, but only 107 agreements were registered, and only 96 were issued allotment letters. It also emerged that BMC had given permission for five floors, but the builders added two more. The BMC has served a demolition notice. In all, 200 were duped of Rs 21 crore.

 

In another case, the builder accepted bookings from 25 buyers and constructed a 17-floor highrise — Shimmer society in Santacruz (west) — though he had CC permission for only five floors. The buyers approached the Bombay high court, which directed the police to book the Jains. “In most of these offences, the modus operandi is almost same,” said police inspector Rajendra Pardeshi, who is heading the probe team that includes police officers Vishal Padir and Vikrant Shirshaat.

Probe cases on builders in 90 days, says Bombay High Court


Probe cases on builders in 90 days, says Bombay High Court

THE ASIAN AGE. | KALPESH MHAMUNKAR

Published  Nov 20, 2016, 1:09 am IST

Updated  Nov 20, 2016, 7:20 am IST

The Bombay High Court expressed surprise that two years has been completed but a charge sheet had not been filed yet.

 

Mumbai: If the police officer investigating any case against a builder fails to finish the investigation within 90 days and files the charge sheet, he will be answerable to the commissioner of police directly. The Bombay high court has directed the Mumbai police commissioner to evolve a mechanism to ensure that investigation of offences against builders and developers is completed within 90 days.

On failing to do so, the commissioner shall seek an explanation from the investigating officer (IO) on why he failed to complete the investigation.

The court also directed that if the commissioner feels the answer by the IO isn’t satisfactory then adverse remark should be made in the records of such officer which will be confidential.

This direction has been given by the division bench of Justice V.M. Kanade and Justice Nutan Sardesai who were hearing a criminal writ petition under which Shekhar Puranik, a builder, had approached the court for quashing of a criminal proceeding against him which was initiated by the Tardeo police station for duping a woman.

According to the petition, a woman had registered a complaint with the Tardeo police against Puranik alleging he had sold her flat to another person. For that he had duplicated signatures on the documents.

On October 14, the complainant and the builder had settled the matter between them and the builder had paid Rs 16 lakh to the woman.

On cross verification with the complainant, she stated that if she continues with the matter, she and her husband will have to go the court every month and there was no guarantee that the matter would be disposed of within a reasonable period of time.

She further stated that moreover if she had deposited this amount in the bank, in five years the same amount would have doubled.

The court also expressed surprise that two years has been completed but a chargesheet had not been filed yet. The police had informed the court that hand-writing expert’s opinion was not obtained in time and therefore, the chargesheet had not been filed. The court was not satisfied with the answer and directed the commissioner of police to inquire into the matter.

Brief Description of the Decision:

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPLICATION NO.   1268    OF  2016

Shri Shekhar P. Puranik & Others.  …    Applicants.        
V/s.
The State of Maharashtra & Anr.   … Respondents.       

­­­ Mr. S. Sathyanarayanan, Advocate for the Applicants. 
Mr.     Rupesh   Zade  a/w.   Shailesh   Chavan,   Advocate   for   the Respondent No.2.

Shri  Patel S. Y., A.S.I. to Tardeo Police Station is present.        ­­­   

CORAM :  V. M. KANADE   AND   Ms. NUTAN D. SARDESSAI,JJ.                          
DATE   :  16th NOVEMBER, 2016

One Avigna Park, the first cluster development project in Mumbai……….in serious trouble……………..


One Avigna Park, the first cluster development project in Mumbai……….in serious trouble…………….
.

Mumbai: FIR against builder for FSI fraud that cost govt Rs 2,000 cr

Cops registered FIR against directors of the firm that constructed the 61-storey super luxury project — One Avighna Park at Currey Road — for allegedly forging…
MID-DAY.COM
Read the entire story at the following link: 

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/mumbai-fir-against-builder-for-fsi-fraud-that-cost-govt-rs-2000-cr/17592153

MOFA Act 1963 – FIR

 

 

MOFA Act, 1963 is a powerful Act with stringent provisions against erring builders.
The various provisions contain imprisonment of 3 years, and fine, etc.
In certain circumstances involving breach of trust, the sentence of imprisonment can go upto five years..

The offences are both cognizable as well as non bailable.
For the first time, the Maharashtra Police has issued Circular on 1 July 2016 directing its police to file FIRs under the provisions of MOFA.

The victim Flat Purchasers can take advantage of these new provisions.

There is a Supreme Court Judgement Re: Lalita Devi that all FIRs must be registered within 7 days of receiving the Complaint (later increased to 15 days). Otherwise, the Police have to intimate to the Complainant in writing giving reasons for not registering the FIR.

 

 

 

 

 

Criminal Action under MOFA

 

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:

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/mumbai-builder-held-for-duping-buyers-of-rs-7-crore/16835156