The Bombay High Court on Monday restrained a GL Raheja group company from handing over possession of any 'constructed premises' on an ambitious 200-acre township project at Malad to a third party without approval of industrialist Nusli Wadia.
Justice Roshan Dalvi passed the order on a suit filed by Wadia, who has been appointed administrator of the 200-acre plot owned by the late E. F. Dinshaw.
Wadia had entered into an agreement for the plot's development with a Raheja group company in 1995, under which he was entitled to 12 per cent share in the sale price of all 'constructed area.'
Wadia moved the court in 2008 alleging the Rahejas had committed fraud by showing a sale price that was much less than the prevailing market rates. He sought an order restraining Rahejas from going ahead with the project and Rs 1,370.06 crore as compensation.
During a hearing, advocate general Ravi Kadam pointed out several purported benami sale transactions executed on same dates, with different rates. Kadam also said a large portion of the 1,600 flats or shops and huge areas in a commercial complex were sold to companies linked to the Rahejas.
Lawyer Janak Dwarkadas, who represented the Rahejas, contended that the rates were low for purchasers who bought large areas. "Larger the area, the lesser has been the market rate," he said, explaining lower rates shown on two transactions involving built-up areas admeasuring 1,52,154 sq ft and 5,91,145 sq ft.
"This economic analogy is not as per market conditions," observed Justice Dalvi, adding, "Real estate is not sold at the price of a dozen; market rate is determined by market forces, not by the area contracted."
The judge issued an order restraining Rahejas from parting with possession of any constructed area without Wadia's approval. The court however refused to restrain the Rahejas from going ahead with development work as the construction would benefit both parties.
The order is also applicable to more than 40 companies, allegedly benami companies connected with the Raheja group, which have purportedly purchased huge commercial tenements in the township project.
The next hearing is on July 26.