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Con Builder dupes property buyers, sells one flat to many

Tuesday, January 09, 2018
By Steffy Thevar

Victim had to sell his flat and his sister’s flat to buy the property and after six months of constant follow up, the victim was finally able to file a complaint

Buying a property in Mumbai is the dream of every Mumbaikar, but these dreams got shattered when an accountant who sold his sister's and his home to collect money to buy a new property at Santacruz, got duped. A 42-year-old, Uday Saliyan was duped by a builders con group who urged him into buying a flat which later, Saliyan discovered was sold to multiple people. Saliyan has two kids and was the only breadwinner of the family. Due to this fraud, Saliyan is now forced to live in a rented flat at Andheri and still lives in a rented flat at Malad. Upon further investigation, Saliyan found that the project was not RERA registered and so this case opens a can of worms as to how property buyers have been getting duped into fraud worth crores.

The project named 'Shanti Gold' was situated at Santacruz (East), opposite Vihar Hotel. According to the victim, Saliyan, the project had started in 2011 and till date, he has paid about Rs. 2 crores 93 lakhs. I have given the pre-planned break up.

The four accused as mentioned in the FIR are Harshad Ratilal Soni and his wife Geeta Harshad Soni, Ambrish Hasmuk Soni and Chetan Narendra Dhakan. The four accused owned Vinamra Developers under which, the project 'Shanti Gold' was being built. ''Since the builder promised me to give me the receipts for the cash and part of the payment was in the form of a cheque. I had a xerox of a few receipts, since the builders took back the receipts from me and mentioned the break up in the allotment letter. I have shown all my transactions in my IT return too. Right now, I have the allotment letter and the receipt copies and bank payment slips.”

He further added that the builder had convinced him to pay in cash citing various reasons like payment to BMC or contractor. He added that, “The project was supposed to be a seven storeyed building and till date in almost six years, only two and a half floors have been built. After six months of following up with the police stations, finally my FIR was accepted on January 5, 2018. Their former manager came to the police station to file his statement and he said that despite his warnings to the Soni family to stop alterations in the allotment and pay VAT and other taxes, they choose to ignore him. The manager also said that on getting to know their fraudulent behaviour, he left the job. The manager had sent the mail in 2015.”

As the property was not RERA registered, the victim could not get a loan and neither a commencement certificate. One of the accused, Ambrish Soni said, “The complaints are completely false and there was no dealing with property. Yes, there was exchange of money on interest basis. The property is not yet RERA registered but we have filed all the documents for the same.”

Saliyan also added that he is not the only victim and further investigation by the police will bring more victims to the fore. Saliyan added, “I am not the only one in this case. When I further investigated about this con group, I got to know that there is already a case going on in the same group for the same project in the Bandra court, that had been filed by a person identified as Jaspal Singh Negi who had paid money to buy a shop in the same project. Now, the builder is not even ready to give me back my money or the property. My sister and I are both forced to stay in rented apartments now.”

He also said that, “this was a pre-planned thing to con people. First they promised me flat number 201, then number 502 and then 601, but they never had the intention to actually sell or trade in property because the flat was never RERA registered at all. Till date, they have not responded to complaints filed on behalf of RERA.”

Under the Indian Penal Code, a FIR was lodged under Section 406 (Breach of Trust), Section 420 (cheating), 120 (b) conspiracy and 34 (common intention) at the Amboli police station in Jogeshwari West.

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