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List steps to recover share in redeveloped cessed buildings: Bombay high court asks Mhada

According to one estimate, Mhada is yet to recover Rs14,000 crores from redeveloped cessed buildings

mumbai Updated: Dec 15, 2017 23:31 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Bombay high court,cess

The Bombay high court on Friday asked the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) to inform it what steps it has decided to take to recover from builders Mhada share in redeveloped cessed buildings in the city — purportedly valued at a staggering Rs14,000 crores.

“Ask some senior Mhada officer to remain present in court and explain the steps proposed to be taken by the authority to recover its share in terms of constructed area in these redeveloped buildings,” a bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Nitin Sambre told the Mhada lawyer.

The court was hearing a petition filed by city resident Kamlakar Shenoy complaining that Mhada officials have deliberately not taken possession of about 2.70 lakh square meters of constructed area, which according to Shenoy is valued at Rs14,000 crores.

Shenoy’s lawyer, advocate Chaitanya Pendse, explained that for redevelopment of every cessed building — old tenanted buildings in Mumbai city — additional Floor Space Index is provided to the builder to make the redevelopment commercially viable. Against this, Mhada also gets prescribed share in terms of constructed area in these buildings. But Pendse argued that Mhada officials deliberately did not take possession of the Mhada share in these redeveloped buildings. He said they did this purportedly to cause undue benefit to the developers, thereby causing wrongful loss to the authority.

Additional public prosecutor Prajakta Shinde informed the bench that Mhada has taken criminal action against erring builders and on the basis of complaints lodged by the authority FIRs have been registered against 34 builders and one more complaint was pending consideration.

The bench, however, said mere registration of FIRs against builders would not be sufficient as it also involved a civil wrong. “Mere filing (of) FIR is not a solution, you must also get your share,” the bench told the Mhada lawyer. “In Mumbai, you have this lakhs of square feet constructed property lying unclaimed,” the bench said.

“You first take possession of your share,” the judges told Mhada. “It cannot be that the buildings are completed, units are sold, third party rights are created and then you realise that your share has not come to you,” they added.

According to an affidavit filed by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), so far 457 projects have been approved for redevelopment of cessed buildings under which Mhada was supposed to get 1,98,646 square meters of constructed area.

Out of these, 149 projects are complete and Mhada has already received 37,292 square meters of constructed area and compensation of Rs37.54 crores, the affidavit adds. It states that substantial portion of the Mhada share — 1,41,803 square meters — is to come from 260 projects which are either on-going or stalled because of various reasons.

EOW has conceded that developers of 48 projects have defaulted in handing over 14,021 square meters constructed area to Mhada and this can be considered actual loss caused to the authority.

First Published: Dec 15, 2017 23:31 IST