The state consumer commission has directed a builder to pay Rs one lakh as compensation to a Panvel resident for fraudulently selling him a penthouse that the builder had previously sold to someone else.
The previous buyer had mortgaged the property to a nationalised bank. The builder, however, did not disclose this information to the complainant.
“In view of the circumstances, we find that the complainant has been duped by the builder,” observed the Maharashtra State Consumer Redressal Commission, while upholding the claim of the Panvel resident, Makrand Bharambe.
Bharambe had purchased the penthouse, with a built-up area of 1,428 square feet, at Panvel, for Rs18.75 lakh. After he made the payment, the builder gave him a possession letter and Bharambe got possession of the penthouse on June 24, 2008.
However, Bharambe and his family were in for a shock when on March 20, 2009, officers of the Kurla-Nehru Nagar branch of the Central Bank of India visited the premises and took formal possession of the property. They told Bharambe that the builder had earlier sold the penthouse to one Ketan Shah, who had taken a home loan from their bank. Shah, however, had defaulted on repayment.
Bharambe then approached the builder to indemnify himself from paying any dues to the bank, but the builder did not help him out. The builder further claimed that he had cancelled the earlier agreement with Shah, who had surrendered the penthouse on full refund of payment.
Bharambe then approached the consumer commission in 2009, alleging deficiency on part of the builder for not disclosing the earlier transaction him.
The commission held the builder guilty of fraud. “He [the builder] sold the same flat twice, first to Ketan Shah and then to the present complainant, without disclosing the previous transaction,” the commission noted.
The commission also directed the builder to clear all outstanding dues payable to Central Bank of India by the previous purchaser and directed the builder pay Bharambe Rs one lakh as compensation.