Friday, April 6, 2012

Self-redevpt ‘trailblazer’ stuck Alleged TDR fraud by society chairman and secretary leaves residents in the lurch

Self-redevpt ‘trailblazer’ stuck

Alleged TDR fraud by society chairman and secretary leaves residents in the lurch

It was supposed to serve as a model for the rest of Mumbai. But the city’s first self-redevelopment project — the Ganesh Nagar ‘D’ co-operative housing society at Mahalaxmi — has been stuck for seven years now due to an alleged fraud in the transfer of development rights (TDR).
A total of 390 residents had taken it upon themselves to redevelop the housing society in 1998. With guidance from the slum rehabilitation society (SRS), they managed to raise a corpus fund of Rs27 lakh from among themselves to redevelop 3,800sqm of the plot by constructing three seven-storied buildings. They planned to raise another Rs5 crore through sale of the society’s TDR for 3,000sqm of the plot.
At the time the dream project began, the housing society laid down some ground rules for the redevelopment contractor — that it would make the payment only after three floors of the first building were constructed. The plan was to sell those flats to foot the contractors’ bills, said Govind Parit, a resident of Ganesh Nagar.
But, the residents found out that good things don’t last too long. An alleged fraud in the project committed by society chairman Bharat Gayekar has not just left them juggling their time between court dates and police stations, but it also pushed back the date of completion indefinitely.
“We were shocked when it was revealed that the chairman and the secretary of our society sold the TDR at a rate lower than that in the market. They even sold the same TDR to three different people through forged documents. It was an almost Rs5-crore fraud,” alleged Mallapa Kuruvi, former treasurer of the society, who is fighting a legal battle and dealing with various complaints filed at the Agripada police station against him by the chairman and secretary, which allege that he has been obstructing the redevelopment process. Kuruvi claimed that Gayekar was using his political clout as secretary of the NCP Mumbai Unite against him. “All government machinery, including the police, are working for them and they have been harassing us by filing false police complaints.”
Sanjay Bhudkar, another resident, alleged that the secretary and the chairman have been stonewalling the process to let the builder take over the project and to get kickbacks in return.
Gayekar rubbished all allegations against him. He claimed that construction work has been stuck due to lack of liquidity. “It’s those who have already received a house who are putting a spoke in the wheel of the redevelopment project. Not only has the SRS turned hostile, but the sale of TDR has also been blocked. We wanted to bring the developer to sort out the financial problem.”

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