Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Eknath Khadse, visited Hiranandani Complex in Powai on Monday and reiterated his demand for an inquiry into alleged violations by the builder.
“I met residents, who were promised houses but still haven’t got them. Only a CBI [Central Bureau of Investigations] inquiry will help nail the culprits,” Khadse told HT.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had recommended that Hiranandani builders, who developed the area, should pay a penalty of Rs 1,993 crore for allegedly violating the development agreement.
Khadse claimed the fine was reduced to Rs 200 crore. He had raised the issue in the Assembly recently. Chief Minister, Ashok Chavan, had announced that a retired judge will probe the allegations.
“What’s the need of deputing a retired judge for the inquiry? The MMRDA is headed by the Chief Minister and it means that the CM doesn’t believe in the agency he heads,” Khadse said.
Niranjan Hiranandani, managing director, Hiranandani Constructions, denied the allegations and said all permissions had been obtained. “These allegations have been made against us for years and we have been cleared in 90 per cent of them,” he said. He claimed these charges were being made by some people in the realty industry who are jealous of his success.
The state and MMRDA had acquired 230 acres from residents of Powai in the early 1970s for affordable housing. The state outsourced the construction to the original landowners. The 19 landowners were returned the land on the condition that 50 per cent of the houses constructed should be 430-sq-ft low cost homes while the remaining will be 830 sq ft apartments.
The landowners gave Hiranandani the power of attorney to develop the project. As the project progressed, allegations of violations surfaced. The state asked MMRDA to inquire.
MMRDA claimed only 15 per cent of the flats follow low cost housing rules. Most flats were more than 2,000 sq ft in area.
MMRDA also found unauthorised commercial development on the land.