Bombay high court upholds revocation of slum development contract
The court was hearing a plea by the developer challenging the current SRA CEO’s February order, indirectly striking down its appointment.mumbai Updated: Mar 23, 2018 00:16 IST
The Bombay high court has upheld the revocation of a contract for a slum redevelopment scheme in Borivli, which was hurriedly awarded to developer Abhinga Enterprise by then chief executive officer (CEO) of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) a few days ahead of his retirement in June 2017.
The court was hearing a plea by the developer challenging the current SRA CEO’s February order, indirectly striking down its appointment.
Justice SC Gupte said, “There is no apparent reason why this should have taken place in June 2017, and why not earlier or, for that matter, later.”
“The only significant events in June 2017 were the passing of a resolution on June 17, 2017 by the new society of slum-dwellers, Abhedya SRA CHS, seeking to appoint rival developer M/s Inclined Realty Pvt Ltd and the imminent retirement of the then CEO by the end of June 2017,” said justice Gupte.
Abhinga Enterprises had submitted a proposal with regard to the SRA project in 2006.
After the contract was awarded in June 2017, a detailed report was prepared by SRA officials within a few days,
The sanction for issuance of Letter of Intent (LOI) was then granted immediately and the developer was asked to pay an instalment of 15% of the land premium on June 17, 2017. An amount of Rs2.89 crore was paid on June 22, 2017.
On February 22, 2018, the new CEO of SRA directed the assistant registrar of the co-operative societies to convene a general body meeting of Borivili Avirahi SRA Cooperative Housing Society, a proposed society of slum-dwellers. The general body has been ordered to elect its chief promoter, managing committee, and a developer for executing the slum scheme afresh.
Justice Gupte expressed astonishment at the unusual efficiency with which the SRA officials had worked. “Completely out of sync with the way SRA is known to function, within just a couple of days of the developer moving for LOI, a full-fledged report was prepared by officers,” said the judge.
The bench refused to interfere with the February 2018 order, noting that no significant steps had been taken to redevelop the area since 2006.