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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

No flat, no vote, say HDIL homebuyers of Mumbai’s project stuck for 9 years

The Whispering Towers project, which has 2BHK and 3BHK apartments in the range of Rs 1 to Rs 3 crore, was launched in 2010 and most of the buyers have already invested 70% of the flat’s cost.

assembly-elections Updated: Oct 11, 2019 11:40 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
Tanushree Venkatraman
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
While 18 out of the 46 floors have been completed in Phase-1 consisting of four wings, no work has been done in Phase-2 which also has three wings.
While 18 out of the 46 floors have been completed in Phase-1 consisting of four wings, no work has been done in Phase-2 which also has three wings. (Pramod Thakur/ HT File Photo/ Representative Image)
         

Hundreds of aggrieved homebuyers of the scam-tainted Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) have said they will not vote in the Maharashtra assembly elections if they don’t get the possession of their flats in Mumbai’s Mulund, which have stuck since the last nine years.

The Whispering Towers project, which has 2BHK and 3BHK apartments in the range of Rs 1 to Rs 3 crore, was launched in 2010 and most of the buyers have already invested 70% of the flat’s cost. There are 450 buyers who have paid Rs 350 crore to the builder.

While 18 out of the 46 floors have been completed in Phase-1 consisting of four wings, no work has been done in Phase-2 which also has three wings.

The homebuyers said they are stranded with the realty developers’ involvement in the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank debt case of over Rs 4,355 crore.

“All members agree that no flat means no vote,” Khushbu Davda, a buyer and member of the Whispering Towers Flat Owners Welfare Association, said.

“We want the government to intervene. We are in a pathetic situation where we are paying EMIs for a flat we are not getting. So, unless we get to see concrete development, we will not vote,” Dr Haresh Manglani, another buyer and a staunch BJP supporter, said.

The association had registered an FIR with Mumbai Police’s Economic Offence Wing (EOW) in 2018. They also approached the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) and the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).

“We have approached every legal authority but there has been no resolution yet. We feel stranded now, with no one to guide us. We don’t know where to go,” Manoj Nankani, another member, said.

The buyers have also staged protests at the site in September.

At least 250 members have also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention in the case.

“The homebuyers are the only sufferers with a lot of financial burden on them as their hard-earned life savings have been invested in this project. Most of them have to service their EMI on home loans and are also paying monthly rentals,” the members wrote in their letter to Modi and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Sitting MLA Sardar Tara Singh’s name has surfaced in the PMC case as his son Rajneet Singh was a director in the bank.

Singh was denied a ticket for the October 21 Maharashtra assembly polls by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has fielded its Mumbai unit’s vice-president Mihir Kotecha in Mulund.

HDIL’s directors Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan and his son Sarang Wadhawan have been arrested by Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) for their involvement in the case of financial irregularities at the PMC Bank.

Also read: 22-room farmhouse, jet among HDIL assets seized in fresh raids

An initial probe by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) found that PMC Bank had replaced suspicious 44 loan accounts with 20,149 fictitious bank accounts whose individual balances were low.

According to the EOW, the 44 accounts allegedly linked with HDIL were masked by tampering bank software, which left them virtually hidden from the core banking solution.

First Published: Oct 11, 2019 11:25 IST

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