Mumbai’s Patra chawl revamp exposes ₹1200-cr scam between builders, development authority
After filing FIR against builder for violations, police probe involvement of society members in Rs1,034-crore scammumbai Updated: Mar 16, 2018 12:09 IST
The Goregaon Patra Chawl redevelopment project scam, estimated to be around Rs1,034 crore, has exposed the nexus between the private developers and the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) officials.
After the First Information Report (FIR) against the builder Guruashish Developers for violations , the state is now probing the role of the society office bearers and Mhada officials.
“We will probe the entire nexus as we feel that money has changed hands,” said Ravindra Waikar, minister of state for housing. He said that FIRs will also filed against those found guilty.
The violations, as listed by Waikar, are builder’s failure to provide new houses to existing tenants, depriving Mhada its share of flats, not paying rent to tenants, as well as causing loss of Rs474 crore to the exchequer.
Residents have also demanded action against the Patra chawl society office bearers. “These society members have compromised our interest for their vested interests, and an FIR should be filed against them,” said Rajesh Dalvi, a local.
According to residents, builder Guruashish sold off part of the land to third parties, allegedly making huge profits, while residents who had left their homes did not get rent for years. Additionally, Mhada officials gave a misleading report, which stated that 87 % of the work for the project was completed, when not more than 50% has been done till date.
This infuriated chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, and ordered suspension of Mhada executive engineer D K Mahajan, for providing misleading information. He asked Guruashish Developers to comply, failing which the CM asked Mhada to take over the project. However, Guruashish did not take any corrective action.
This is symptomatic of the problem in the redevelopment of the 56 Mhada colonies that occupy huge prime land in Mumbai, where builders allegedly team up with office-bearers and Mhada, to tweak rules and make windfalls, leaving residents in the lurch.
The redevelopment of Patra Chawl in Siddharth Nagar, spread across 47 acres, has been mired in controversy since the beginning.
In 2007, Mhada allowed Guruashish to redevelop and rehabilitate 675 chawl tenants. However Mhada received complaints that it sold parts of land to other builders.
Guruashish, which is a subsidiary of the Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL), has currently filed for insolvency before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) owing to its failure to repay lenders.
Sarang Wadhwan, vice chairman and managing director, HDIL, was unavailable for comments despite several attempts.