Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Name & Shame Bhagtani Builder's Employees & Bankers

20th September, 2017, Mumbai: During the past 3-4 days, the victims of Bhagtani builders from various projects such as (Savannah, Sapphire, Serenity and Riyo) have started going in groups to Santacruz Police Station and giving their statements. Hopefully, we will see more FIRs being registered against the Dipesh, Mukesh and Lakshman Bhagtani for cheating. It may not be long before they are arrested and interrogated by police.

SOME QUESTIONS ARISE:

1) Will investors get back their money? Will the courts and/or other authorities recover the money from wherever the Bhagtanis have siphoned it off? Will they start recovery proceedings and get the money back within a reasonable timeframe, and return it pro-rata to investors? One hopes so; it is necessary for all of us to work towards that objective. If our system fails to deliver some kind of justice and payback, a couple of hundred NRIs who invested in Bhagtani projects may lose faith in the Indian system, and may spread the word that India isn't a reliable investment destination. The authorities should remember that our nation's reputation is at stake here.

 

2) Will victims name Bhagtani's office staff? Most investors forget that the work of cheating them was mostly done by salaried staff -- Customer Relationship Managers, Sales Manager, etc. Victims were (and still are) interacting with and following up with office staff. The staff has been shielding the Bhagtanis from angry victims for years, by giving various false assurances and wrong facts on their behalf. Every few months, the employee changes, and the victims have to frustratingly start all over again by updating the new one about the commitments made by his predecessor! Please name and shame the staff members on social media, and also put their names in your FIR as conspirators. Remember, they earned their salaries by cheating you of the money that rightfully belongs to your wife and children! For many years, the only work done in Bhagtani's staff is cheating and misleading customers after calling them to the office! Bhagtani builder's office has wiped out not only the life savings of individual families, but also over 100 extended families, consisting of parents, brothers, sisters, in-laws etc, who were persuaded by the main victims to book a flat!

3) Will the bank branch (and branch managers) be shamed? The Bhagtani builders bounced over 1000 cheques in the last few years i.e. an average of at least two per day! This isn't normal and acceptable by banking standards! So, did the bank officers, particularly branch manager, initiate any action against Bhagtani? Did the branch manager take steps to close the accounts of the Bhagtanis for violating banking norms? One doubts it! Remember, bouncing the cheques was a not an accident that happened only with you; it was a regular modus operandi for Bhagtani builders, and it happened with hundreds of investors! Bouncing post-dated-cheques repeatedly was an important part of Bhagtani's strategy. So, please name and shame the bank branch that aided and abetted Bhagtanis in cheating you!

Even if these people quit their jobs and go to work elsewhere, they should carry the bad reputation that they earned while working for Bhagtanis! The employees and bankers were Bhagtani's collaborators, who aided and abetted in the cheating. So let us create a database of the names of Bhagtanis crooked employees, and also the dishonoured cheques. Please email or whatsapp me the name and designation of the employees (along with their photo and/or photo of their visiting card), and clearly mention the role that they played in cheating you. Also email or whatsapp photos of the dishonoured cheques. I would like to publish these details as a database, and it may be useful for our case in High Court also.

ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Krishnaraj Rao
krish.kkphoto@gmail.com
816 947 1229 (Whatsapp)

Friday, 15 September 2017

Lodha Fiorenza – Misleading RERA, Blindfolding Flat Buyers



Mumbai, 16th September, 2017: If you are a flat-buyer looking for a new home for your family, or an property investor looking for good returns, be warned; Lodha Fiorenza is a trap. If you sign any papers or swipe your credit card at the Lodha Fiorenza sales office, you will be liable to forfeit lakhs of rupees very quickly, or make a regrettable investment from which there are only loss-making exits. The branding message of “interiors by Jade Jagger for Yoo” is a giant façade that hides an ugly mess of unverifiable claims, unfair dealings and badly planned towers that will prove extremely costly to maintain in the long run. 

The advertising claims portray a stylish premium property, which is far from the ground reality. The designer interiors are flashy, mediocre and gimmicky. Half the flats have a view of the greenery of Aarey Colony, Goregaon, but this is marred by the continuous bass droning of day-and-night traffic on the Western Express Highway that permeates through doors, windows and even walls. Smooth-talking sales office staffers lure you to swipe your credit card and sign papers that will suck you into a financial decision that may cause you to forfeit pots of money. How much money can you lose? Over 50 lakh rupees, if you signed up for a modest five crore rupees flat! Many toxic clauses are written in the terms and conditions of a barely-legal document called “Application Form”, which you are expected to fill up and sign at the first or second meeting at the sales office, before negotiating the final price or asking for detailed information about the project.

This Application Form is a top-secret document, not allowed to go out of the office in any form – whether photocopied or electronic. You get to read the Application Form only when you are about to sign it. Customers may sign it in an unwary mood because the sales staffers give them verbal reassurances, such as, “That clause does not apply to you, Sir,” or “Madam, this form is just a formality to show that you are interested”. If you sign, you are expected to pay a token amount of a few lakhs; Rs 8.10 lakhs is the minimum booking amount expected, but they will initially accept far less. 

Did you sign and did you pay? Congratulations, Sir/Madam, you are now like a fish that swallowed the bait; the hook is now lodged firmly in your throat.  


Lodha Group uses the same modus operandi for taking bookings at two dozen registered projects which you can view on the MahaRERA site by typing “Lodha” and hitting the Search button. Lodha Group is an established brand in the property market, and the group’s patriarch, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, is a ruling party MLA with a generally clean reputation. However, its disclosures to the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) and other public authorities such as the Municipal Corporation and Mumbai Fire Brigade, leave much to be desired. The dirty work of misleading customers is done by the staff sitting in the plush sales office; higher-ups stay out of sight, and customers are routinely misled without leaving any documentary evidence that can be used in a court of law.  

Buying a flat in Fiorenza and such other Lodha properties typically means making an investment decision of amount ranging between about Rs 2.5 to 25 crores. Such investments should be made after careful consideration and proper legal paperwork. But, instead of providing reliable information, Lodha Group deprives the potential customer of all information, and makes him cough up some money in exchange for even small bits of information. 

The Lodha customer is typically a wealthy person with surplus investable income but deficit of time and mindspace; he/she is too busy making money to be careful about how he spends it. Quite often, NRIs on a short visit to India or young couples having huge corporate salaries and equally high responsibilities land up at Lodha Fiorenza looking for investment opportunities. The plush corporate environment at the sales office confuses customers, and they make the mistake of thinking that rule-bound behaviour is law-abiding behaviour.

Open Space and Fire Norms Violations

Hidden behind the plush, five-star façade of Lodha Fiorenza are numerous false and misleading declarations to RERA and MCGM, brazen open space violations and rampant fire safety norms violations. Lodha Fiorenza consists of four residential towers of about 40 storeys on top of a massive seven-storeyed parking podium, of which 50% is a municipal parking lot. Towers Roma and Milano are mentioned in detail in the RERA declaration, but two other towers – Venezia and Sienna – are not mentioned; as far is RERA has been informed, only two residential towers exist on top of the parking podium! The gigantic structure of Lodha Fiorenza stands squarely on a service road of Western Express Highway, towering over the popular Hub mall. It offers no access to fire-fighting vehicles on three sides, and limited access on one side only – the service road in front. There are no open spaces around the parking podium for a fire-brigade vehicle to circumnavigate the structure. There is no way for the fire-brigade vehicles to climb up to the amenities level on the seventh floor of the podium – the only part of this residential complex that offers a tiny bit of open green unrestricted space to the 500-odd households. Access to fire exits is restricted by doors kept permanently locked. Even the residents of this complex are given restricted access; the swipe card of a resident gives him access only to his own tower, but not to the neighbouring towers. The security guards exist to safeguard Lodha’s property and restrict the residents.

Investors who bought exorbitantly-priced flats in Venezia and Sienna towers some years ago are now struggling offload it, even at a loss. They are facing fierce competition from Lodha’s sales office, which readily enters into a price-cutting war with them. Security guards give estate agents and investors and owners a hard time, posing obstacles and restricting them for showing flats to prospective purchasers. 

You won’t get Conveyance of Land

The flat buyers are told that Lodha Fiorenza stands on “freehold land” which will be readily conveyed to them after the cooperative societies and federation of societies are formed. That is untrue. The Title Verification document uploaded on RERA website may give investors sleepless nights. It says:

  • “… there are no material changes taken place with regards to the title of Nirlon as an Owner and Lodha Pranik Landmark Developers Private Limited as a developer of the said property subject to always mortgage referred therein.”
  • “Suit no. 2496 has been filed by the Hub Mall Premises Cooperative Society Limited (Plaintiff) against the Company and Others before the City Civil Court, Dindoshi. In the said suit, the plaintiff has sought to allege inter alia that the development of the Lodha Fiorenza Project by Company is contrary to the provisions of law and that the defendants be statutorily prohibited from carrying on development of the Lodha Fiorenza project contrary to the sanctioned layout plan in as much as no consent of the purchasers of the units of Hub Mall was obtained for the development of the Lodha Fiorenza project and that the loading of TDR on the project to be declared illegal.” This matter is currently stuck in appeal before Bombay High Court.

The RERA declaration cryptically mentions four litigations pending in the city civil court and Bombay High Court. Details and documents of these are withheld from RERA and from home buyers.

Club & gym are bones of contention

There is inherent discrimination in the distribution of recreational facilities, which is not only unlawful, but will also lead to quarrels between the separate cooperative societies that will be formed for the maintenance of the towers. There is one common club, gymnasium and swimming pool for about 460 residents of Venezia, Sienna and Roma towers, and there is a separate equal-sized special club, gym and swimming pool exclusively for the 45 residents of Milano tower. Both the clubs and gymnasiums are located within Milano tower. The cost-sharing ratio for sharing the maintenance costs between the towers will inevitably be a huge bone of contention for years and decades to come.
Even outsiders may be allowed to use the club, swimming pool etc, according to Lodha Group. The draft registered agreement defines club very cleverly. Clause 1.15 says, “”Club” shall mean any recreation facility constructed for the use of the purchasers of units in the Project or the Larger Property.” Clause 1.32 of the draft registered agreement states, ““Larger Property” means the land with details as described in Annexure 1 (Description of Larger Property). For clarity, there may be other building(s) and / or project(s) which will be constructed on the Larger Property.” Larger Property means the land plot occupied by Lodha Fiorenza plus Raheja Sherwood plus Hub Mall, and other land owned by Nirlon.

The term Common Areas and Amenities is usually understood as meaning Common Areas as defined in the Real Estate Regulatory Act section 2(n), including staircase, terrace, club, recreational open spaces, etc. However, Lodha’s draft registered agreement robs this term of its meaning by defining Common Areas and Amenities in Annexure 7 as things that are provided within the flats, such as “iPad controlled homes with lighting and AC control; ‘Digital Hollywood’ in each residence with access to central database with 1000’s of movies, shows and games; Italian marble flooring in living/dining, puja, passage and master bedroom,” etc. etc.

Common parking for outsiders’ vehicles and Fiorenza residents

The bottom three floors of the six-storey parking podium are a public parking facility built for MCGM. The upper three floors are for the 1000-odd cars belonging to the 500-odd residents. The two share a common entry and exit ramp. When fully occupied by 2000 vehicles, there will be a traffic jam every morning and evening!

A further cause of disputes and unhappiness will be the building maintenance. The bottom three floors will presumably be maintained by the Municipal Corporation, while the upper ramps will have to be maintained by the federation of cooperative societies. Deficiencies in maintenance quality will impact the condition and life of the entire six-story podium structure, and the four towers built on it.

Super-Built-Up Area is being sold

Real Estate Regulatory Authority’s efforts to compel builders to sell only on carpet area basis have been reduced to nought. Lodha Group is openly charging for “super-built-up”, now termed as “EBVT”, standing for Exclusive Balcony, Verandah and Terrace. 

Lodha does not accept RERA as Authority

Clause 1.5 of the draft registered agreement defines “Authority” as “(i) any nation or government or any province, state or any other political subdivision thereof; (ii) any entity, authority or body exercising executive, legislative, judicial, regulatory or administrative functions of or pertaining to government, including any governmental authority, agency, department, board, commission or instrumentality; or (iii) any court, tribunal or arbitrator.” Clause 1.43 defines RERA as “Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 and the rules framed by the relevant State Government thereto and any amendments to the Act or the rules.” Both definitions omit to mention the Real Estate Regulatory Authority appointed by the State Government.

The draft registered agreement and other documents uploaded (or omitted to be uploaded) by Lodha Group are a complete basket of monkeys. They merit a separate article. So, let us now focus on the Application Form for the remainder this article.

Web of deceitful clauses in Application Letter

1. The customer fills up the dimensions of the flat without any proofs, and undertakes to be bound by the details that he fills up. At the outset of this form, the Lodha Group customer is required to state, "I hereby apply for the allotment of the abovementioned units. I confirm that all the details have been filled up by me or at my instance, and I have thereafter signed the Application Form. I confirm that the details provided by me are true and correct. I have read the terms and conditions and agree to be bound by the same." And this statement will be signed by the customer and his co-applicant, if any. Not only the details of applicant and co-applicant are to be filled up by the customer, but the Carpet Area in Square Ft. and Sq. Metres, and the dimensions of the Exclusive Verandah / Balcony / Open Terrace ("EVBT") of the flat are also to be filled up by the customer in his own handwriting. One may ask, based on what does the customer fill out these details about the flat? The answer is, based on a simple computer printout on a plain white paper without a letterhead or signature, which is given to the customer. How can you know that these dimensions are correctly mentioned in the laser printout? And the answer is, blind faith. Even after persistent and written requests, Lodha Group flatly refuses to provide any certificate or drawing signed by a civil engineer or architect etc. stating the dimensions of a particular flat. The sales staffers insist that even they are not authorized to part with any document, or send an email stating anything at all. 

2. The customer fills up the "Date of Offer of Possession". The sales staff verbally inform you of the “tentative” date, but don’t give you anything in writing. 

3. The customer effectively undertakes not to deduct TDS on his payments to Lodha Group, and “authorizes the Company to deduct applicable TDS and make the necessary payments to the relevant authorities on behalf of the Applicant." Income Tax law casts a duty on the flat-buyer to deduct TDS and remit the deducted amount to the department. Does signing the Allotment Letter of Lodha Group free the customer from his statutory obligation to deduct TDS on large property transactions? NO. But Lodha Group will not delete this misleading clause.
5. Detailed payment schedule or "Milestones" enables customer-relation staff to tighten the screws. Annexure A of the Application Form has a detailed schedule stating that the customer will be required to pay Rs 8.10 lakhs upon booking and 9.9% less booking amount within 21 days of booking. In subsequent points, the milestones specify payment of 10.10% within 42 days of booking, 20% within 90 days of booking, 20% within 144 days of booking, and the remaining 40% "on initiation of possession". (The sales team verbally assures you that this schedule is “not applicable to you”, but insists nevertheless that you must sign on that page also, “because it is just a formality” and “we are not authorized to change the draft of Application Letter” and also, “we follow this format for all Lodha projects”.) The customer is required to stake large amounts in the region of Rs 25 lakhs to 2.5 cr, or even higher, on the basis of zero information about Lodha Fiorenza and its individual towers. Sales office personnel tell you that “you have to give us something to show your seriousness”, but they refuse send you an email about mundane project details! 

On a separate page, under the heading "Booking Amounts", the Terms & Conditions state that “I, the applicant, undertake to make payments in accordance with the Schedule of Payments, time being of essence”. The term Booking Amounts means the amount that the applicant pays prior to the registration of Agreement to Sell (i.e. the two initial payments totalling 9.9% of the total consideration amount). The terms & conditions mention that if there is non-receipt of Booking Amounts or any part of the payment, or if there is any breach of the terms and conditions by the applicant, Booking Amount 1 and 2 (or 10% of total consideration, whichever is higher) shall be forfeited. This means, if the customer pays any money to show his seriousness in buying a flat, it will never be refunded under any circumstances, and if he happens to pay a larger amount, even exceeding 10%, prior to registration of Agreement, the entire amount can be forfeited for a wide variety of reasons!

6. The consideration amount can be unilaterally increased! Under the heading "Schedule of Payments", point no. 7.5 of the Terms & Conditions says, "The Consideration Value shall remain fixed as stated in the Application form, save and except for proportionate share (in ration of Carpet Area) of any increase in costs/charges levied by any statutory authority... and on account of any increase in the cost of construction due to depreciation of the Rupee by more than 5% beyond the prevailing exchange rate with US Dollar as on the date of construction of the building. The applicant shall pay such proportionate share as demanded." Why? Why does the rupee-dollar exchange rate have anything to do with the price of Lodha Fiorenza? In what way does the dollar exchange rate affect the construction or maintenance costs of Lodha Fiorenza in Mumbai? Is the raw material or labour sourced from the USA? The sales office reassures you that this clause is not applicable currently (“unless war breaks out with Pakistan or China”) but they and their higher-ups bluntly refuse to delete it! They insist on you accepting and signing the Application Form in its entirety, and reassure you that none of those “standard clauses” will be misused to your detriment. Can you trust them?

7. Not all building approvals have been obtained, and the customer waives his right to raise any objection. Under the heading, "Plans & Specifications", the Terms & Conditions say, "The Applicant is aware that while the Company has obtained some of the approvals, certain other approvals (or amendments to current approvals) may be received from time to time. Having regard to the above position, the Applicant has applied for the unit, and agrees to abide by the terms without any objection of demur, and waives his right to raise any objection in that regard." The question is: Exactly which approvals are referred to in this clause? Lodha Group has not uploaded Commencement Certificate on the RERA website; could it be that the all-important CC was not received by this project? Doesn’t it lend credence to the allegations that development of the Lodha Fiorenza Project by Company is contrary to the provisions of law and contrary to the sanctioned layout plan?

8. Builder is allowed to make all sorts of amendments to the plans and layouts, and customer gives consent! The terms & conditions say, "The applicant hereby confirms that the Company may make amendments to the plans or layouts of the Project, the Building or Unit as required... This may include any change wherein the Company, if permitted by the relevant authorities, tranferring the construction permissible on the property on which the Project is being developed (Property) to any other property or transferring to the Property the construction permissible on any other property at any time prior to conveyance of the Property to the Federation / Ultimate Organization... The applicant gives his consent for such changes." What one understands from this is that Lodha Group may intend to either take the FSI from the land plot on which Lodha Fiorenza is built and exploit this FSI to construct somewhere else (i.e. Transfer of Development Right i.e. TDR of Lodha Fiorenza being used on some other Lodha project), OR alternatively, utilize the FSI or TDR taken from some other project site and use it at Lodha Fiorenza project. Lodha Group insists that you sign this waiver!

It must be stressed that Real Estate Regulatory Act does not allow allow unilateral forfeiting of booking amounts, etc., nor does it allow builders to keep the customers in the dark and bind their hands and feet with discriminatory clauses. This method of dealing with customers amounts to unfair trade practices, punishable not only under RERA but also under the Competition Act 2002, which defines such acts as “abuse of dominant position”.

More articles will follow, focusing on issues in Lodha Fiorenza’s RERA declarations, Allotment Letter and Registered Agreement format, etc. 

ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Krishnaraj Rao
9821588114
krish.kkphoto@gmail.com

REBUTTAL: Lodha Group was approached for their say on various points of this article on two separate occasions. They have not reverted with any rebuttal so far.

Bombay HC wants list of Bhagtani Riyo Victims

16th September, 2017, Mumbai:  If you are a aggrieved flat-buyer in Bhagtani Riyo project in Mira Road, smile. Bombay High Court has given you a huge opportunity today to get your money back. At the anticipatory bail application no. 1533 of 2017 held yesterday evening for extension of pre-arrest bail granted to Dipesh, Jayesh and Lakshman Bhagtani, Bombay High Court directed the advocates of intervenors to submit lists of holders of Allotment Letters and/or cancellation deeds (flat-buyers of Bhagtani Riyo) wishing to seek refund under the court’s protection. This list is to be given before Monday (18th September) to the advocate representing the Bhagtanis, to enable the advocate to revert with a time-bound plan for repaying them. "Don't repay with PDCs (post dated cheques) that bounce, repay with regular cheques," Justice Revati Mohite Dere warned repeatedly. Reacting to the protestations of Bhagtani builder's advocate that many buyers wanted flats and not repayment, the lady judge shot back, "That doesn't mean the people who want repayment should be deprived!".

The intervenors' advocates were at pains to point out the hollowness of Bhagtanis' assurances given at the previous hearing held on 1st September, 2017. They mentioned that Bhagtanis' promises to refund were not honoured in the past, and that clauses 11 and 12 in the allotment letters did not provide any time limit for refund, enabling the Bhagtanis to postpone repayments indefinitely. 

The judge directed Bhagtanis' advocate to come prepared next Friday (22nd September) to give a specific schedule for repaying all the complainants and intervenors. With this direction, yesterday's hearing was "rolled over" to next Friday. (So far, no written orders were uploaded.) 




Background & Explanations

Hundreds of flat-buyers have paid between Rs 7 lakhs to 50 lakhs each, towards one or two flats in Bhagtani Riyo 1 and Riyo 2 projects in Mira Road. A couple of dozen aggrieved flat-buyers filed a complaint at Santacruz Police Station and so an FIR (CR no. 399 of 2017) was registered for cheating under IPC section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) read with section 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

On 23rd August, 2017, Justice Revati Mohite Dere granted anticipatory till 28th August to Dipesh Bhagtani because he said that "there is Ganpati in his house". On 1st Sept 2017, Dipesh, Mukesh and Lakshman Bhagtani got interim protection from arrest. However, the 1st September order recorded certain submissions cum assurances made by the applicants, which are (a) that the Bhagtanis have settled the dispute with the complainants and have returned the entire amount (b) with respect to a score of investors whose names are mentioned in the interim bail application, the applicants are ready and willing to honour their commitment in terms of clauses 11 and 12 of the allotment letter. (c) With respect to other flat purchasers (apart from the above-mentioned), the applicants are ready to honour their commitment in terms of clauses 11 and 12. 
The matter was then placed on 15th Sept. 2017 (today) for compliance of terms and conditions. On the matter being called out, the court was addressed by not just the applicants and the additional public prosecutor, but also advocates representing a number of intervenors who were praying for protection of their interests.  Taking into consideration the grievances of the intervenors, the judge directed the advocate of the complainants to refund the amounts. She insisted on knowing within what time frame the refund would happen, to which the builder's advocate sought time to ascertain the number of investors and the total amount of dues. The court further specified that the said amounts would not be refunded by PDCs, as they had been dishonoured multiple times in the past. Further directions were given to the advocates of the intervenors to submit a list of intervenors, and the amounts owed to them, on Monday, 18th Sept, 2017.

The judge said that the same relief was also extended to the flat-buyers have signed the Cancellation Deed and surrendered their Allotment letters. 

This direction has give a huge ray of hope to hundreds of Bhagtani Riyo project, because there is a substantial chance that they will get their money back within a limited time frame that is required to be promised by the Bhagtanis to the High Court. The present application was rolled over for a hearing on next Friday, Sept 22nd, 2017. The Bhagtanis will be required to submit a specific date for the payment to the list of investors furnished to Bhagtani’s counsel on Monday, 18th Sept, 2017.

What this means for other project investors

Aggrieved flat purchasers in Bhagtani Savannah, Sapphire and other non-starter real estate projects are now flocking to Santacruz Police Station to lodge their complaint. A precedent has been set by this present FIR, which can be followed by others to get quick relief! It appears that the sad story of Bhagtani investors may have a happy ending after all!


ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Krishnaraj Rao
9821588114
krish.kkphoto@gmail.com

Note: This is the factual account of the proceedings of Bhagtani's Anticipatory Bail Application at courtroom no. 19 at 5 pm today, where I was present along with many Riyo flat purchasers and the advocate representing them. If you are an aggrieved investor in Bhagtani Riyo, you may call me for getting your name included in the High Court list. Act fast to avoid disappointment. -- Krish

Saturday, 9 September 2017

My REACTIONS to Bhagtani Builder's Press Release

Hi. Below, I am reproducing Bhagtani's press release, which started circulating on Whatsapp on Thursday. Bhagtani's words are in black, my words are in red.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

PRESS RELEASE BY DIPESH BHAGTANI
Dipesh Bhagtani, MD, Jaycee Homes, Clarifies Concerns and Requests Customers to Continue to have Faith

The last few months, and perhaps even years, have been rather difficult for both our customers and our company.

Mr Bhagtani, the last few years have been easy for you and difficult for your customers, who trusted you and gave their entire life-savings and also loans taken from banks, friends and families. You and your family members are frequently enjoying your customers' hard-earned money in London and Dubai.

There have been concerns about our credibility, triggered by misinformed articles in the press.

Your credibility is zero. There is no misinformation. We emailed every one of our reports to you before publishing them. You always have the opportunity to put the facts and documents before us, but you have never shown any interest in doing so.  

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “If you are right and know it, speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.” Inspired by this great leader, I feel encouraged to share with you the truth of the situation.

Over 2000 customers cheated by you say, "Tumhare muh se Gandhiji ka naam accha nahin lagta".  

Trusted for over 50 years

Jaycee Homes, a third generation realty company, with over 250 residential and commercial projects successfully completed and delivered since its inception in 1965, has spent decades building up a reputation of trust. The company has an impeccable track record of quality construction and thousands of satisfied residents.

Where are these "250 residential and commercial projects successfully completed" which you claim? Please name at least 10 projects, Mr Bhagtani. Give specific details of "track record" and show us "satisfied customers". In all your RERA declarations, you have left your Past Experience completely blank! Why?  

We assure you that our customers have always been and will always be our priority.

Of course your customers are always your priority! Because they are always foolishly coming to your office and enabling your cunning office staff to trick them! Your personal and office expenses are covered by gullible customers giving you lakhs of rupees till date

Progressive Reforms

As you all are aware, our country is undergoing an economic revolution and this has been changing the face of the real estate sector too. From being an unregulated and unorganised sector for years, it is now emerging as a professional, mature and regulated sector, with a number of reforms and policy initiatives such as the Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA), liberal FDI into the sector, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and missions like Housing for All, Smart Cities, etc.

Our country's progress is NOT because of people like you. You are a parasite.

Temporary Disruption

While all these initiatives will take the sector and the country to the next level of sustainable growth, there is bound to be an interim and temporary disruption of old systems and processes to make way for the new. And that is exactly where we, as a country and sector, are today.

"Interim and temporary disruption of old systems" is not applicable to you, because you are not genuine builders, you are frauds and con-men posing as builders. (If what I am saying is false, sue me for defamation.)

Due to various reforms instituted by the government, including demonetisation and the dumping ground order, etc. the entire real estate development fraternity has been adversely impacted, albeit to different extents, depending on the state of progress of their various projects.

We too have suffered temporary setbacks in term of cash-flow crunches and delays in permits and permissions.

What "cash-flow crunches" are you talking about? You have pots of money, and zero expenditure on building construction in most of the projects! You have spent tiny amounts on the land, construction and permissions! Crores of rupees are flowing into your various fraud companies; where is it all going? London? Or Dubai? 

Strong Foundations

Despite these temporary setbacks, we continue to remain committed to our projects and customers. Of the 15-16 projects that we have launched over the past 10 years, we have successfully delivered 9 projects and 3 more are in various stages of construction. It is true that there are 6 projects that are filed with the Maha RERA that have not progressed much but we are determined to see them to their logical conclusion – i.e. ensure that our customers receive what they were promised.

"...we have successfully delivered 9 projects". Don't talk vaguely, Mr Bhagtani. Please give names and details of these 9 projects.

Genuine intent

While we are confident that we will emerge from the temporary setbacks as a stronger company, we understand that our patrons may have compulsions and obligations that make it difficult for them to stay invested with us. Accordingly, we have refunded over Rs 50 crore during the past two and a half years; this comprises a much larger part of our capital holdings than misinformed articles suggest.

"...we have refunded over Rs 50 crore during the past two and a half years..." Even if you have refunded partial amounts to some old bakras, you have collected over Rs 500 crore from new bakras. You have made bakras of 100% of your customers from the very beginning, starting with your fraudulent Allotment Letter!

We have also offered our customers the option to take possession of homes by other builders who we have tied up with or in our own projects at alternate locations.

Yes, and on this pretext, you have tricked your customers into giving you more money. Moreover, you have forced them to sign your fraudulent "Cancellation Deed", and giving up their legal rights. Also, no customer got possession of flats; they only got empty promises! 

Humble Plea

It is my humble request, and that of my family and colleagues at the firm, that all our current investors keep their faith in us. We are here for the long haul and with your support we can tide over this passing predicament smoothly.

"Humble request" is lies and humbug. This is like a crocodile requesting the sheep to keep faith. For you, the predicament is only that a large number of people now understand what cheats and frauds you are. 

We realise your concerns and assure you that we will work tirelessly till you are satisfied and keep you informed of our progress every step of the way. After all, it is in our interest to ensure that your interests are secured.

Mr Bhagtani, your so-called construction projects are just empty shells to fool the public. All the information that you give about "our progress" will be just lies. You are not interested in securing anybody's interest, except your own.

ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Krishnaraj Rao
9821588114
krish.kkphoto@gmail.com



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To read Bhagtani's Press Release without my comments, Click here.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Bhagtani Builder's Rebuttal to our Blogs/Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE BY DIPESH BHAGTANI
Dipesh Bhagtani, MD, Jaycee Homes, Clarifies Concerns and Requests Customers to Continue to have Faith

The last few months, and perhaps even years, have been rather difficult for both our customers and our company. There have been concerns about our credibility, triggered by misinformed articles in the press.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “If you are right and know it, speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.” Inspired by this great leader, I feel encouraged to share with you the truth of the situation.



Trusted for over 50 years

Jaycee Homes, a third generation realty company, with over 250 residential and commercial projects successfully completed and delivered since its inception in 1965, has spent decades building up a reputation of trust. The company has an impeccable track record of quality construction and thousands of satisfied residents. We assure you that our customers have always been and will always be our priority.

Progressive Reforms

As you all are aware, our country is undergoing an economic revolution and this has been changing the face of the real estate sector too. From being an unregulated and unorganised sector for years, it is now emerging as a professional, mature and regulated sector, with a number of reforms and policy initiatives such as the Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA), liberal FDI into the sector, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and missions like Housing for All, Smart Cities, etc.

Temporary Disruption

While all these initiatives will take the sector and the country to the next level of sustainable growth, there is bound to be an interim and temporary disruption of old systems and processes to make way for the new. And that is exactly where we, as a country and sector, are today.

Due to various reforms instituted by the government, including demonetisation and the dumping ground order, etc. the entire real estate development fraternity has been adversely impacted, albeit to different extents, depending on the state of progress of their various projects.

We too have suffered temporary setbacks in term of cash-flow crunches and delays in permits and permissions.

Strong Foundations

Despite these temporary setbacks, we continue to remain committed to our projects and customers. Of the 15-16 projects that we have launched over the past 10 years, we have successfully delivered 9 projects and 3 more are in various stages of construction. It is true that there are 6 projects that are filed with the Maha RERA that have not progressed much but we are determined to see them to their logical conclusion – i.e. ensure that our customers receive what they were promised.

Genuine intent

While we are confident that we will emerge from the temporary setbacks as a stronger company, we understand that our patrons may have compulsions and obligations that make it difficult for them to stay invested with us. Accordingly, we have refunded over Rs 50 crore during the past two and a half years; this comprises a much larger part of our capital holdings than misinformed articles suggest. We have also offered our customers the option to take possession of homes by other builders who we have tied up with or in our own projects at alternate locations.

Humble Plea

It is my humble request, and that of my family and colleagues at the firm, that all our current investors keep their faith in us. We are here for the long haul and with your support we can tide over this passing predicament smoothly.

We realise your concerns and assure you that we will work tirelessly till you are satisfied and keep you informed of our progress every step of the way. After all, it is in our interest to ensure that your interests are secured.
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Note: The above rebuttal is evidently in response to the below blogs and press releases issued by us in the last couple of weeks --

1) Bhagtani's Gigantic Engine of Bad-Debt 

2) Bhagtani Builder’s Trick: Collect Rs 600 cr and Don’t build a single flat!



Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Bhagtani's Gigantic Engine of Bad-Debt

Mumbai, 6th September, 2017: More bad news. Bhagtani builders may be planning to settle abroad with far more than the Rs 600 crore earlier estimated. Over and above 2000-odd flat buyers, many others were also fooled.

WHO ELSE WAS FOOLED?

1) CASH-RICH PROFESSIONALS GAVE LOANS to Bhagtani family. Many cash-rich people loaned Bhagtani crores of rupees, lured by promises of 24% interest. They knew the family personally and socially, went to the same club, met at social occasions, etc. And now the repayment PDCs have started bouncing. One well-known doctor lost the Rs 1.5 crore principal amount that he loaned, after getting 24% interest for a couple of years.


2) INVESTORS CONTACTED BY CHIT-FUND TYPE BROKERS. Estate agents typically get 1 to 2 percent brokerage on the value of the flat, but those who raise money for chit-funds typically get 5% brokerage on actual funds collected. Bhagtani had the latter kind of brokers to lure cash-rich investors. One group of investors residing in Gokuldham area of Goregaon was lured to invest about Rs 50 crores by a broker. This RERA-registered broker (to be named in a later article) singlehandedly collected Rs 350 crores from Goregaon, and distributed allotment letters of about 500 flats!

3) SUPPLIERS AND CONTRACTORS GAVE CREDIT to Bhagtani. Crores of rupees are outstanding, and now seem unlikely to be paid, as their cheques also have started bouncing. An advertising professional lost Rs 25 lakhs. Many building contractors who worked on Bhagtani's contruction sites, giving the sites a "happening" look and attracting investors, have been paid with bouncing cheques.
A dozen endlessly-ongoing building projects in various parts of Mumbai helped Bhagtani to create the illusion of an engine of economic growth. Let alone the common man, even seasoned businessmen are fooled by such appearances!


ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Krishnaraj Rao
9821588114
krish.kkphoto@gmail.com

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Sunday, 3 September 2017

Bhagtani Builder’s Trick: Collect Rs 600 cr and Don’t build a single flat!



Mumbai, 3rd Sept 2017: As the Govinda song goes, “It happens only in India!” Having collected Rs 600 crore from 2,000-odd flat-purchasers, builder Dipesh Bhagtani hasn’t delivered even one single flat in the last 10 years. Bhagtani has more than 10 ongoing real estate projects in Mumbai, but not even one square foot has been delivered to his customers. Nobody – not even the builder himself – thinks it will happen in the foreseeable future; in the last two months, letters have been written by the builder’s office to most customers (cleverly termed as “investors”) that their projects are indefinitely stalled, and so their flat booking stands cancelled. Only the most naïve customers believe that he will return their principal amount, let alone give them the 15% interest promised in case of cancellation. Bhagtani has bounced over 500 cheques and dishonoured at least 500 promissory notes -- probably a Guinness Record!

Bhagtani’s companies Jaycee Homes and JVPD Properties have recently registered six "ongoing" projects with MahaRERA. Four other projects may be directed to register, due to dozens of complaints received by MahaRERA. But the big picture is, all projects, registered or otherwise, are dead fish. The RERA disclosures made by Bhagtani are nonsensical. Almost all of the documents uploaded on MahaRERA website are not what they are supposed to be. Uploaded IODs are outdated. Approved Plans are for recreational spaces and not buildings. Commencement Certificates, Registered Agreement and Allotment Letter formats are not uploaded. None of the six building projects registered with RERA have proper approvals; any approvals that were earlier issued have expired and invalid. But unsuspecting flat buyers continue to sink their money into such projects.

 

Naturally, people are asking: How come Dipesh Bhagtani, his brother Mukesh and father Lakshman, aren’t already in jail? Why haven't the dozens of cheated high net worth individuals (HNIs) and Non Resident Indians (NRIs) exercised their clout? Why hasn’t Mumbai police EOW registered FIR against the builders as well as the smooth-talking tricksters employed in their office? How come no newspaper or TV channel has reported this scam, despite investors holding morchas and meetings aplenty? Why is Dipesh Bhagtani being projected by other members of Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) as a leading builder? Why hasn’t MCHI-CREDAI expelled this black sheep? The only possible answer is that Rs 600 crore can buy a lot of friendship!

Investors have paid not only initial booking amounts, but also installments, totally ranging between Rs 8 lakhs and 70 lakhs per head. It is estimated that about 2000 investors have given an average of Rs 30 lakhs each! In return, Bhagtani’s companies haven’t delivered one square foot of built-up area. Over 500 investors have asked for refund. The majority haven’t received even one paisa. A handful of investors who filed cases (or were on the verge of doing so) received a few lakhs to cool off. 

At recent meetings with investors, Dipesh Bhagtani has been telling investors that he cannot start a phased repayment till 2018 or 2019. Even such vague promises are just a pie-in-the-sky; it is a mistake to trust him.

THE BIG PICTURE

The picture that emerges is that the Bhagtanis are not builders, but con men. If they were genuine builders, at least two out of the ten projects would have been completed! The fact that not even one project has been completed, indicates that Dipesh Bhagtani and his family members never had the intention to complete any building. The difficulties cited by them, such as change of laws and DC Regulations, MCGM’s delay in issuing permissions, etc. are convenient excuses and cover-ups for their bad intentions. 

So, what is the hope for the allottees of Bhagtani's flats? The only hope now is that MahaRERA will take matters in hand, ask the Bhagtanis to disclose the account books of all their companies, and recover the money to at least partly repay the investors. If their title over the project land is good, then that can be handed over to honest builders. 

If MahaRERA refuses to exercise its jurisdiction in cases like this, then God help the investors of this country! Because there are many more builders like Bhagtani, with thousands of investors stuck in their webs.

ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Krishnaraj Rao
9821588114
krish.kkphoto@gmail.com

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