: Jailed developer D S Kulkarni alias
told a special
on Monday that he was open to the suggestion of forming a joint venture with the Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority for completing his stalled projects and repay dues payable to the depositors, but auction of his 143 freehold properties was not a feasible solution.
Special public prosecutor Pravin Chavan objected to DSK’s statement, arguing that the developer was misleading the court as he could have completed these projects by 2017, after their launch in 2014. Special MPID judge D G Murumkar directed DSK to file a written say by February 25 clarifying his position on the state’s plea.
The developer is facing prosecution in the alleged Rs2,091.11 crore fraud involving siphoning of funds raised through depositors, loans, debentures and home buyers. On January 25, special public prosecutor Chavan had submitted a list of 143 properties of DSK and his group of companies with a plea for the court’s permission to auction them.
The packed courtroom on Monday witnessed some heated verbal exchanges between lawyers as well as between affected depositors over the mode of disposal of DSK’s properties after lawyer Chandrakant Bidkar moved an intervention plea questioning the special court’s powers to order auction of properties. “This is court, not a municipality,” judge Murumkar said at one point to rein in a woman depositor, who tried to speak out of turn.
Bidkar earlier stated that DSK’s consent be sought for roping in Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (Mhada) to develop the unfinished projects for clearing depositors’ dues. Bidkar submitted that only a high court division bench had powers to order public auction.
Chavan then questioned Bidkar’s locus standi in the matter and argued that the latter had no right to audience as he was not a complainant in the case. Amid frayed tempers, Bidkar insisted that he was one of the affected depositors and his statement as a complainant had been recorded by the police. DSK was produced before the court on Monday following his plea, he said. The court then asked investigating officer ACP Nilesh More to verify Bidkar’s claim and make a statement.
Lawyer Chinmay Inamdar, representing DSK, also questioned Bidkar’s locus standi. A section of depositors objected to Bidkar’s plea and it set off another round of verbal exchange between Bidkar and the depositors. One of the depositors then brought to the court’s notice that they had earlier approached Mhada with a plea to take over DSK’s unfinished projects, but it had ruled out such an arrangement.
At this point, the court asked DSK to make an oral statement. The developer said he was ready to cooperate with whoever helping him out of the situation to return the dues to the depositors. He maintained that his group had enough properties. He said if he was allowed to develop and sell them, they would generate Rs2,000 crore funds and that could be used for clearing the dues. He said public auction was not a feasible solution.
Chavan interjected to say why he did not develop these properties before 2017.
All the eight arrested accused — DSK, his wife, Hemanti, son, Shirish, sister-in-law, Anuradha Purandare, Kedar Vanjape, Sai Vanjape, Dhananjay Pachpor and Vinay Badgandi — were produced before the court on Monday.