Homebuyers jittery after B’luru builder’s arrest
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested businessman and director of the Mantri Developers Pvt. Ltd. Sushil Mantri on Saturdayunder the Prevention of Money Laundering Act
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested businessman and director of the Mantri Developers Pvt. Ltd. Sushil Mantri on Saturdayunder the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.over money laundering charges, an official in the know of matter said on Sunday
Mantri’s arrest has added to the apprehensions of members of the Mantri Serenity Home Buyers Forum, who have given several complaints to the police as well to the ED previously, demanding answers and expressing apprehension over the developments that threaten their chances of owning a house.
On June 17, the forum had submitted a complaint to the ED alleging that the Bengaluru-based builder was trying to launder money through the undivided share of land (UDS) scam and concealment, in Doddakallasandra locality on Kanakapura Road in the city.
“The project, Mantri Serenity Joint Development happened in 2010 and the home buyers started booking in 2012-13. The earliest date of possession was in December, 2015. The project kept on delaying and even in June 2022, the project was not completed as committed by the builder. The builder did not hand over the possession with occupancy certificate to home buyers even after the home buyers had paid more than 90% of the money, and some of them had even paid 100% money for their flats long back,” the complaint read.
HT has seen a copy of the complaint.
The forum has also filed a police complaint following which a first information report (FIR) was registered in 2020 in the SubramanyaPura Police station and the same is still under investigation.
“We went to the customer relationship manager (CRM) to ask about our status as we have already paid the money. If he (Mantri) is arrested, we have some apprehensions regarding the project now since the owner itself has been arrested. We have paid ₹80-90 lakh for the property. Now, what will happen to us,” Dhananjaya, who identifies himself as the principal secretary of the forum said on Sunday.
A few members of the forum held banners outside the Serenity property on Saturday, demanding the completion and delivery of the homes, some of which were booked in 2013.
Dhananjaya said that he bought the apartment under a construction-linked plan which would mean that the payments were to be made in phases while there were others like pre-EMI scheme, buyback scheme and other promotional offers that were designed to increase sales as well as make it attractive for buyers.
“The project is running and people have started to move in. There is no impact of the promoter’s arrest,” said a CRM from the serenity project, requesting not to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
He added that there were 2,152 apartments under the Serenity project and 80% of them were already sold with at least 352 families already living in it.
On the delay in handing over the homes to buyers, he said that there was a cash crunch which has now been resolved.
In October 2020, the Mantri developers said that it would revive its residential project, Serenity, under the ₹25,000-crore Special Window for Affordable and Mid-Income Housing (SWAMIH) Investment Fund, formed by the Union government to complete the stalled brownfield projects in the affordable housing/mid-income category, a news report in The Hindu stated.
The case is no different for several other home buyers, especially for those who have invested their money into Mantri properties.
Another project, Mantri Webcity, also suffers the same set of issues where home buyers have paid almost the entire amount for the property but are yet to get any delivery or services that were promised.
“In Webcity, things are not really good. The situation is pathetic actually. There are people who have booked their flats in 2013-14 and they have not seen their properties. Some of them have seen their floors being constructed but nothing more than that. Few of them received their flats but there is no official certificate or any other docuement. These buildings even lack basic amenities like electricity,” rued another home buyer Jainendra Singh.
He added that there were several cases filed with the police, National Company Law Tribunal and Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) but there has been no respite for home buyers. Mantri developers could not be reached for comment.