: The Pune city police have registered as many as 75 cases against land developers and builders under the provisions of the Maharashtra Ownership of Flat Act (MOFA) since 2015.
In the majority of the cases, the complainants have alleged that builders had not constructed the building or that they weren’t given possession of the flat.
In 2016, the state government had asked police departments across Maharashtra to not neglect such cases registered by home buyers, following which the police had stepped up their efforts.
However, in many cases, police have clubbed multiple cases if they were registered against a particular builder.
For instance, after the arrest of city-based developer D S Kulkarni (DSK) in February 2018, the city police received as many as 214 complaints, in which home buyers claimed that they had booked flats in different projects floated by DSK since 2013, but had yet to take possession. All these cases were clubbed together under a first information report (FIR) registered at the Shivajinagar police station. DSK is currently lodged at the Yerawada Central Jail.
In January this year, the Hadapsar police had arrested Vishwajeet Jhavar (49), the chief executive of Marvel Realtors — and booked eight others — for not handing over the possession of a flat in Hadapsar, worth Rs1.82 crore, to a homebuyer. Jhavar was supposed to have handed the flat over in May 2018, but the building is still under construction.
The Dubai-based customer, alleging delay and wrongful representation of facts in the ‘Marvel Kyra’ scheme in Hadapsar, had filed a case against Jhavar.
Eight other persons had since come forward with their complaints against Marvel Realtors. Police have clubbed these cases together.
“We register cases under MOFA, whenever people, who have booked flats, approach the police with all the documents,” Jyoti Priya Singh, deputy commissioner of police (economics offences), told TOI.
Singh said that such cases are classified as economic crimes, and said people use up their life’s savings to buy homes. “We, as police, are trying to help the victims in such cases. The reports are processed within the stipulated time frame, so that a concrete outcome could be arrived at in court. This will go a long way in helping the victims of such cases,” she said.
The DCP added that complainants in such cases approach police only after making repeated requests to the builders for possession.
Singh said a majority of the cases are reported from the suburban areas of the city, where construction activities are in full flow, such as the airport, Hadapsar, Kondhwa, Dhankawdi-Katraj, Uttamnagar and other areas.
A senior police officer told TOI that many people, who are staying in rented accommodation and have booked flats, had borrowed money from different financial institutions like banks or private financiers.
The officer said these people are paying rent as well as EMIs. “It’s a sad situation. In some cases, the builders were supposed to deliver the flats in 2013. They are still waiting for the possession of the property,” the officer said.