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Corruption, Dishonesty and Frauds in Redevelopment

Many countries have beaten India in diverse fields. However, India has out-beaten all the countries in one field and that is widespread corruption for which every Indian is proud about his country being on the pinnacle since ages. One of the areas of this majestic achievement by established interests of the corporate field is redevelopment of old housing societies and commercial joints in metro cities.

Mumbai has become the capital of corruption, especially in the construction business, perhaps, because of the highest property rates in India. Cheating property buyers, flouting the rules, getting the requisite papers and plans approved sometimes in advance, selling refuge and other free of FSI areas and construction and sale of illegal floors are common these days in the financial capital of India.

In the name of redevelopment of old housing societies in Mumbai, the various authorities, in last few years have carpeted free ground to breed rampant corruption to benefit the private builders to sub serve their illegal objectives to garner huge money and members of the Managing Committees of Societies to enjoy the sleep with the builders for few greens and thrust redevelopment idea on the innocent members.

The benevolent Officials at MCGM always are in readiness to approve any plan tabled, MMRDA, MHADA, Banks, Politicians and Senior Bureaucrats, Police, Local Goons and all concerned who are the core harvesters in most lucrative money spinning business involving multi crores of rupees in the name of redeveloping our mother land.

The entire lobby of these white collared mafias has strongly built a black economy in our country involving nearly 40% to 50% of unaccounted cash transactions from the small/large/corporate buyers of the properties. The menace of deadly nexus amongst these “BADDIES” have also beleaguered the licensing authorities of administration like MCGM, MMRDA, MHADA, Banks etc. for getting illegitimate approvals or legalize unauthorized constructions.

The ill- observance of MRTP/MCGM/DCR rules and guidelines are overlooked by the sympathetic officials of the MCGM and the plans so submitted, are sanctioned without verifying the eligibility or its conformity with the Development Agreements.

The redevelopment projects when completed, the Occupancy Certificates are issued without the proper inspection neither carried out by the MCGM officials nor taking pains to verify whether the actual measurement of the constructed areas tally with the final plans submitted, whether the use of FSI is legal, whether the basement areas are sold to commercial houses though they are free of FSI meant exclusively for car parking.

It has been often noticed that during the process of redevelopment, the terms of Development Agreements as agreed upon, unhealthy attempts with ulterior motives are made by the builders to twist and grossly violate the rules of MCGM, MRTP and DCR by unlawfully planning and constructing additional/unauthorized areas/floors that are beyond their entitlement (i.e. beyond the plot FSI and the TDR/FSI loaded) for their hidden financial gains.

The buyers of such unlawful flats/properties land themselves in deals that lead to litigation at a later date. It is not viable to pull the builder to court and wait for years to get fair justice. Once the buyers sign on the dotted line and pay the cost, he is at the builder’s mercy.

It is further noticed that upon the completion of the projects, these additional/unauthorized constructions are silently regularized at the last moment by executing the Supplemental Agreements with the Office Bearers of the Societies with green handshakes and offering them handsome rewards.

The illegal gratifications and lavish spending by a large cartel of unscrupulous Builders entice the members of the Managing Committees of Cooperative Societies and provoke them to turn against their own members in the matter of giving consent and force implementation of redevelopment.

The corrupt members of the Managing Committees also resort to arm twisting, harassment and threatening method to the flat owners into submission as per the builder’s orders. Scared by such hounding tactics, most society members accept and offer their consent towards the redevelopment of their society without any protest and prefer to go along with whatever the members of the whole Managing Committee decides.

The members of the Cooperative Housing Societies in Mumbai are required to be vigilant while handing over their Societies for redevelopment to such builders who, by rewarding the unreliable members of the Managing Committees and their associates, carry out the unauthorized/additional constructions for their hidden financial gains which they are not entitled to. When unauthorized constructions beyond the laws are the statutory norms of such builders rather than the exception to the rules, the strict laws of the land have always to be upheld by taking stern actions under the laws.

On the front of Banks’ role to proliferate the corruption in recent years, the real estate market has helped increase realty frauds and other phony real estate financing by the Banks. The flourishing business of redevelopment in the present realty scenario invariably has brought in many unscrupulous and unsavory builders who, in connivance with certain corrupt bank executives and dishonest officers, secure bogus loans by allegedly executing spurious documents supported by fudged Balance Sheets, highly inflated/false financial data, fabricated information/statements and try to make some fast money through illegal routes.

Builders, Advocates, Chartered Accountants, Bank Executives, Branch Managers and officers nexus is believed to be the root cause of banks falling prey to realty frauds involving non-viable loans in billions of crores of rupees resulting in many fold increase in non-performing assets of Banks.

Quite a number of times, the approvals come from a single branch of a bank for sanction of loan to a blue-eyed builder of that bank, is the results of lack of thorough scrutiny and site inspection of the project by the bank officials. The recent bulletin published by the Banking Industry states that the builders confronting acute finance crunch, are under pressure and buying money at the rate of 24% or more to repay the bad loans which are estimated to the tune of Rs. 180 thousand crores.

It has also been noticed where a particular bank executive is transferred or posted from one branch to another, such immoral builders follow these bank executives to continue their illicit relations to avail more and more loans in crores of rupees which are sanctioned or got sanctioned from HO by such dishonest bank executives who act as carriers/agents to the top bosses at head office of that bank.

Complaints about mortgage frauds and predatory lending practices in banks have also grown many-fold as the economy has soured and increasing numbers of realtors face financial strains and even foreclosure. Reserve Bank is taking mortgage frauds increasingly seriously with assigning the task of investigations and prosecutions to Central Bureau of Investigation Dept. and Banking Section of Economic Offence Division against the disloyal bank executives and corrupt bank officials for rendering undue favors to the builders and acquiring disproportionate assets to their salaried income.

With regard to Law & Order, the Indian Police has always remained in forefront to protect the cold-blooded builders and milk them as often as needed. Even basic functions like lodging a FIR against the fraud and cheat builders is firstly not registered, victims are encouraged and even threatened for not to file an official complaint. If a case somehow gets registered, the police usually do not take any action. The con builders, corrupt politicians and policemen go like hand in glove, often resulting in exploitation of the gullible and naïve buyers.

It is not expected of a common man to analyze the hidden risks in a redevelopment scenario. His knowledge is zero to know the judiciary system and its intricacies. The builders on the other hand, have fleet of highly paid advocates and experts to advise and protect them.

Last, but not the least, the successful execution of any redevelopment project primarily depends on the management by the members of the Managing Committees with transparent efforts to protect the corporate interest of the society and 100% co-operation of each and every member. This, in turn is again depends on the capacity of the members of the Managing Committees who are entrusted with the management of entire process of the redevelopment with their honesty and integrity.

There are several instances of incomplete or misleading information prevailing among the Housing Societies and flat owners as well that are planning for redevelopment. Controversial court judgments add to the confusion and such Housing Societies get stuck at some point due to lack of information, knowledge, contact with right kind of counselors, analysts, advisors etc. Many societies do not have conveyance and hence, the entire process can break down in an instant.

Please educate yourself and caution your friendly neighbors to be vigilant from Irregularities and illegalities in Redevelopment by the Builders, Illegal gratifications showered by Builders on corrupt members of Managing Committees, Rampant Corruption in BMC, Flagrant violation of Rules and Regulations by the Builders, how to beware of Cheat and Fraud Builders and their criminal and felonious acts.