MahaRERA imposes penalty on developer for selling single flats to many buyers, directs refund with interest

In a landmark judgement, Maharashtra Real Estate (Regulation and Development) (MahaRERA) directed a Virar-based developer not only to give full compensation to flat buyers, but also imposed a penalty for the unfair trade practice as defined under RERA.
MahaRERA member and adjudicating officer BD Kapdanis, in his judgement on 27 April 2018, while disposing a complaint filed by Sanjay Lohar and Sukhram Kushwah, directed developer Raju Sulire, to pay the penalty of Rs2.50 lakh for indulging in unfair trade practice. Sulire is one of the partners of the ‘Om Mandar Realtors’, along with Ashok Pande.
Lohar had booked a flat in project “Mandar Avenue” located at village Dongre Virat (West), after paying Rs32.70 lakh in 2012. The developer had issued an allotment letter on 28 November 2013. Then Lohar came to know that the same flat was sold to one Vishal Khavale on 23 September 2013. Thereafter, the developer offered another flat to Lohar in 2016, but even that flat was sold to another buyer.
Similarly Kushwah on 15 May 2012 had booked a flat by paying Rs10 lakh. He was stated to have been issued an allotment letter. However, the developer sold the flat to one Vinay Adhav on 7 March 2014. This flat was sold to one Vinay Choradiya on 18 September 2017.
Both the flat buyers complained to MahaRERA against builder for unfair trade practice under section 7 of RERA Act, which authorises the authority to revoke registration of the project under sub Section (3) of Section 7. It also gives discretion to the authority to permit registration to remain valid subject to further terms and conditions as it deems fit in the interest of an allottee.
Kapadnis directed the developer to refund Lohar and Kushwah the amounts paid by them, along with simple interest at the rate of 10.05% per annum from the date of receipt of the amount till the amounts are refunded. Besides, the developer was asked to pay Rs20,000 towards cost of the complaint. The developer was also asked to pay a penalty of Rs2.50 lakh on each case on charges of violating section 7.
According to social activist Sulaiman Bhimani, MahaRERA has already issued four orders against this developer, but it is for the first time a penalty has been imposed for unfair trade practices. This is expected to clear the muck in real estate, he added.
One more complaint against ‘Om Mandar Realtors’ filed by Bhojpuri actor Sudeep Pandey is pending with the Mumbai Police. Pandey, in a letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) has alleged threat to him by Sulure, in whose housing project, he had booked flats and is yet to get possession despite paying full cost of the flats.
In the letter dated 5 May 2018, Pandey stated he had bought two 2BHK flats in Mandar Heights, at village Dongare, in Virar (west) during 2013. He paid Rs48.06 lakh as total cost of the flat at Rs24.03 lakh per flat each (flat No 104 and No 304). The sale deeds were registered on 24 July 2013 at Registrar’s office in Virar.
The flats were booked through two agents Rohit Naval and Dharam Pal both based in Virar.
However when Pandey visited the site on 24 January 2018, he noticed that flat No 104/K was sold to one Mukesh Agarwal and flat No 304/K was sold to one Prabhavati  S Chaudhari as per the name plates on the door.
Subsequently Sulure, the developer asked Pandey to cancel his flat bookings and gave him some cheques as refund cost. However the cheques were bounced. Sulure also allegedly threatened Pandey with dire consequences and there was also an attempt to attack him. Since Pandey was unable to visit the site fearing attack, he filed the complaint with Mumbai police, seeking urgent help in the matter.
When contacted, Senior Police Inspector Kolekar of Arnala police Station (Virar West) said that he was on medical leave. The cell phone numbers of Sulure continued to remain engaged all through out. His manager Bhagwan Chawan also could not be reached till writing this story.


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