Delhi: Saket mall shop owners write to LG over DDA nod for extra floor
The shop owners allege that DDA has given the permission to the builder who is no longer the owner of the property, as it was sold on a freehold basis to 117 shop owners in 2007.
A group of shop owners of a south Delhi mall have written to Delhi lieutenant governor Anil Baijal requesting cancellation of the permission given by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to the builder to construct additional floors. They allege that DDA has given the permission to the builder who is no longer the owner of the property, as it was sold on a freehold basis to 117 shop owners in 2007.
Last year, DDA granted permission to the builder (Fargo Estates Pvt Ltd) of Square One mall in Saket to construct additional floors as per the amendment in the Master Plan of Delhi-2021 in 2018 which increased the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for properties in district centres developed by the land-owning agency.
The mall, which mostly has offices, was constructed in 2006 and the builder got DDA to convert the property from leasehold to freehold in 2007. The shops and offices were subsequently sold to people/entities on a freehold basis. In February last year, the builder received permission from DDA to construct additional floors as per the new policy.
The Square One Mall Owners and Occupiers Association (association of office space owners) claim that they are the owners now as the shops/office spaces were sold to them on a freehold basis.
Pushpendra Singh, spokesperson of the association, said, “The company (Fargo) has misrepresented and concealed the status of their ownership while obtaining the permission to construct additional floors from DDA. When Fargo sold and transferred all their rights, title, and interests in respect of the entire FAR sanctioned to them in favour of shop/office space owners, then how can they be considered owners of the property? If this entire property was sold to another builder, then the new builder would have got the benefit of the DDA’s policy for additional FAR. In this case, we (association) are the new owners.”
Refuting the ownership claim of the shop owners’ association, Sunil Kunj, manager of Fargo Estates Pvt Ltd, said, “We have not concealed any facts from DDA while obtaining the permission. As per DDA’s policy for giving additional FAR, only individual lessee/ auction purchaser, that is, we, can avail the additional FAR. In this case, our company is the original allottee as auction purchaser.”
He added, “These people have been sold only the inside space of the units in the building and all the common areas have been given to them for the right of ingress and egress only without any ownership right, which continues to be vested in us. All our sale deeds very clearly mention that in future if DDA allows us to do further construction, their proportionate land apportioned to them in the building will get reduced proportionately. This clause is there in every sale deed.”
HT has seen the copy of the sale deed agreement.
Refuting the claim, Singh said, “How can the builder reduce the proportionate ground area and the super area already sold?”
Singh said, “The builders have sold and transferred super area including covered area and common area absolutely and forever. The Association members are accordingly paying municipal taxes and maintenance charges on the super area and not just on covered area. The common area is vested in them only for the purpose of maintenance….The builders mischievously added some contradictory conditions in the sale agreements to profit even after selling the entire property. If the builders build additional floors then the common area of all the existing owners gets reduced. Can the builders reduce the common area after charging for it completely and acknowledging the same? It’s legally untenable.”
He added, “Further the clause in the agreement reads that in case of construction by them in future only the ground area will get reduced proportionately. Nowhere it says that common area will get reduced. Further where is the parking provision for additional construction. Why they have lied in the new sanctioned plan that automated deck car parking exists. The shop in the agreement has been defined as covered area plus proportionate common area.”
A senior DDA official, aware of the development, said, “As per the current policy, DDA recognises only the builder/ original owner, who got the plot in the auction. Therefore, the benefit of the additional FAR is given to the original allottee. If the property is further sold to other people, then the division of additional FAR is a matter between the original allottee and others. DDA has no role to play in this.”
The association members allege that the builder is carrying out construction on the property in a bid to legalise illegal construction. Singh said, “The builder is now constructing shops on the fourth floor, which till recently was an open terrace. We have written to Delhi Lieutenant governor in this regard and requested him to cancel the permission granted to the company and take appropriate action against people.”
Singh further said that the DDA sanctioned the plan without approval from the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC). “The building plan was sanctioned in February but till then they didn’t have permission from DUAC…The existing parking space in the upper and lower basement is barely sufficient to park 40-45 cars as against 117 sanctioned shops. What is the provision for additional parking kept by the builders to meet the additional demand on account of additional sanctioned FAR? This was clearly pointed out by DUAC in their observations. DDA has sidelined this observation of DUAC and has sanctioned additional FAR without the approval of DUAC,” said Singh.
DUAC didn’t comment on the matter.
Kunj said, “There is some construction happening at the site, which is essentially strengthening the foundation and similar works, which has been paused for some time for some strategic reasons. The plan has been sanctioned by DDA and an inspection was conducted recently, which has found everything to be in order.”
DDA carried out an inspection of the site last week and the matter regarding the building plan being sanctioned is being examined. The senior DDA official said, “There was no problem found at the site. But we are examining the matter.”
In a letter to Delhi lieutenant governor Anil Baijal on January 4, 2022, the association requested him to intervene in the matter and cancel the sanctioned plan. “In the plan for addition approved by DDA, M/S Fargo Estates Pvt Ltd are now showing shops constructed on the back terrace on the 4th floor. A blatant lie again, as this was an open area till now as per the sanctioned plan of 2004….This is an attempt by the builders to illegally construct additional shops based on falsified plan submitted to DDA,” read the letter.