Monday, 19 February 2018

Story of victim of Coral Lake scam in Karjat (RCL Homes)

Mumbai, 19th February, 2018: Flat purchasers looking at booking properties in Coral Lake, Mohili Meadows, TS Harmony and Otium Club in Karjat taluka, developed by RCL Homes, please be warned, you can lose lakhs of rupees. Realliance Constructions a.k.a. RCL Homes is an unregistered entity known to be cheating large numbers of flat-buyers. Multiple cheating complaints are pending against promoters Anand and Kavita Kadam at EOW wing at CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai, Vashi police station and Raigad police. 

To understand how you can be cheated, read how Shweta and her husband Pravin Kachhawah lost Rs 3.26 lakhs by booking a flat in Coral Lake, Karjat. In August, 2012, the couple visited the project site and saw that two of the 14 buildings proposed (each with 8 flats) were in a finished state. A third building was under construction. Also the clubhouse was in a finishing stage. Seeing this, the couple were convinced that project was making steady progress. The couple met Anand Uttam Kadam, husband of Kavita Anand Kadam, the proprietress of Realliance Constructions (which is also known as RCL and also RCL Homes), who assured them that they would start giving possession of flats will from December 2013 onwards. The builder claimed that the project had statutory approvals and funding from Bank of India, and promised to enter into registered sale agreement before July 2013.

Convinced by all this, Shweta and Pravin booked a 680 sq.ft. built-up 1 BHK flat in Jaladhi building of  Coral Lake project at a consideration of Rs 21.75 lakh. Realliance Constructions issued the allotment letter on 30th August 2012 after receiving Rs 1.07 lakh by cheque. The builder soon demanded a further payment Rs 2.17 lakh, bringing the total amount paid to Rs. 3.26 lakh.

On 1st November 2012, Shweta and Pravin visited the site and found that the construction work had not commenced. The builder said that the delay was due to temporary unavailability of sand.

In February 2013, the clubhouse of Coral Lake was inaugurated, and Shweta and Pravin were invited. Although no construction activity was happening, the inauguration gave them some hope that the project would soon be back on track. 

Thereafter, Shweta visited the site frequently, and was disturbed to find no progress. The builder now  claimed that project was hit by recession in the real estate market, and bluntly said that construction work would begin only when there was a rise in demand!

The construction activity never resumed.

(On hindsight, it becomes obvious that builder's sole intention for opening the clubhouse was to exploit it, and the two ready buildings, as a holiday resort. They never had intentions of delivering the flats to flat-buyers.)

In March 2014, Shweta wrote many emails and letters asking for cancellation of the booking and a complete refund. On 16th April, 2014, Realliance Constructions replied with an email that showed the builder's fraudulent and malafide intentions, as it said that "you can yourself create a third party and sell your cancelled flat". As for refunding the amount, it said vaguely that "as the market condition is volatile, we require some time to refund your booking amount".

Shortly afterwards, the builder shifted their office to a new location without informing Shweta and Pravin, who had to go to great lengths to trace the current address (Shop No-32, 2nd floor, Nano wing, Haware business park, Vashi , Sector-30A, Navi Mumbai 400703)

On 2nd February 2015, Shweta filed a civil suit in Belapur. On 17th December 2015, the civil court delivered a judgment directing the builder to refund Rs 3.96 lakh plus 9% interest. However, Realliance Constructions completely ignored this court verdict. It has not refunded any amount till date, forcing Shweta and Pravin to seek other judicial reliefs.
On 26th March 2016, Shweta filed a cheating complaint Vashi Police station against Anand Uttam Kadam and Kavita Anand Kadam. The FIR was registered under IPC section 420 & 34. Many more FIRs will be registered in the weeks and months to come.

RCL Homes is part of a large group of scam builders, which is referred to as RCL-RBIL. It is conservatively estimated that RCL-RBIL builders have collected over sixty crore rupees as booking amounts in 2011-12 from multiple projects, and have not delivered any flats. Real Buildcon Infrastructure Ltd, having its registered office in Vashi, is at the epicentre of this huge scam. Realliance Constructions, which is closely associated with RBIL, is not registered with the Registrar of Companies. The name is designed to look and sound like "Reliance Construction Ltd", in order to fool customers. 

Besides Anand Uttam Kadam and his wife Kavita, other important scamsters of this group are Vaishali Savalkar, Minal Ramji Umrania and Pravin Hirji Thakkar. However, the scam is wider, and involves the directors of many other companies, about whom more articles will soon be written.

Krishnaraj Rao

Recent articles about RCL-RBIL scam:

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Victims of RCL-RBIL Builders unite to fight for justice

Mumbai, 8th February, 2018: Flat buyers cheated by RCL-RBIL group of builders held a meeting last Saturday (3rd Feb) at Veer Kotwal Udyan in Dadar to discuss their future course of action. About 30 flat buyers attended the meeting. The majority were from two large housing projects in Karjat taluka, named Liberty Horizons and Ten Square, where . Also represented in the gathering was Marina Alibaug, currently being marketed as Cliff Haven by Enamour Realty Pvt Ltd and Sunvenn Advisors Pvt Ltd.

Victims of RCL-RBIL pose in front of a banner which asks, "Who will give us justice? What justice?". Contrasting the pleasant dreams shown in 2012 with the barren reality of 2018, the banner ends with
"Cheated by Real Buildcon Infrastructure Ltd, Karjat".
Overview of the Scam

RCL-RBIL builders collected over sixty crore rupees as booking amounts in 2011-12 from Liberty Horizons, Ten Square and Marina projects, and have not delivered any flats. Seven years later, Liberty Horizons and Ten Square are at a standstill, and Marina flats are being sold to a new set of buyers by renaming the project as Cliff Haven. Real Buildcon Infrastructure Ltd, having its registered office in Vashi, is at the epicentre of this huge scam. Its associated concern, Realliance Constructions Ltd, is not registered with the Registrar of Companies. Its name is deceptively similar to Reliance Construction Ltd. The company is referred to as RCL Homes on its website.  

RBIL directors Vaishali Savalkar and Minal Ramji Umrania are in charge of customer-handing in all the projects; they routinely mislead and browbeat customers on phone and email. Vaishali Savalkar is the power-of-attorney holder for registering the agreements. Anand Uttam Kadam and his wife Kavita Kadam seem to specialize in taking the blame and handling the police and court matters. Moorji Jethalal Fariya is the original land owner who conferred development rights on Pravin Hirji Thakkar, who then transferred the development rights to RCL and RBIL via power-of-attorney.

The builders rarely reply to emails, and refuse to accept Speedpost and registered post from customers and even law enforcement agencies. On the phone, they give rude and evasive replies to queries about refund of booking amount and delivery of flats, and they bluntly refuse to register the projects with MahaRERA. "Who is MahaRERA? What do we have to do with them?" they ask defiantly. They have refused to appear before the RERA authority even after being summoned.

Project Liberty Horizons

Liberty Horizons was launched by RBIL in September 2012 as a project with 1008 flats to be built in three phases at Kothimbe village. After substantial construction work was completed, phase A and B have been at a standstill for the past three years. Work on Phase C never got started. The consideration value of the flats varied between Rs 5.25 and Rs 7.5 lakh, according to their sizes. Flat buyers typically paid between 30% and 70% of the consideration value as booking amount. It is reckoned that the booking amounts collected between 2011 and 2013 was over Rs 20 crore.

Liberty Horizons, at a standstill since 2014.
Project Ten Square

Project Ten Square by RCL Homes in Kothimbe village was started in 2010. It had 248 housing units, ranging from studio apartments to bungalows and other configurations too. Its base price for a studio apartment was Rs 10 to 12 lakh. For the past three years, this project too is at a standstill. Some buildings are 70% complete, making the project look like a neighbourhood of haunted houses. The builders collected over Rs 30 crore as booking amounts from Ten Square.

Ten Square -- deserted like a ghost town from a Hollywood movie.

RCL-RBIL have swallowed the life-savings of approximately 1,500 middle-class families living in Mumbai region -- over Rs 50 crore, not counting interest. Will Maharashtra police be able to rein in these crooks, and give justice to these families?

Keerthy Naik
Mob 9137050532 / Whatsapp +254739176807

Krishnaraj Rao

Monday, 5 February 2018

Is Xander's Serenity Mortgage faulty without consent of Flat-buyers?

Mumbai, 5th Feb, 2018: Lately, a hotly debated topic is: Does Xander have a legally enforceable lien on the project/land of Serenity? Some Serenity flat-buyers are arguing that Bhagtani should have sought the consent of two-thirds of the flat-buyers of Serenity. They claim that RERA and MOFA required Bhagtani to seek the consent of the allottees, and since that never happened, Xander has no claim. To this, they add that they booked their flats first, and Serenity was mortgaged to Xander at a later date, in mid-2015. And from this, they conclude that they have a right and Xander has no right over the project land.

Before we get analyze the merits of this argument, let us take a step back and understand some crucial facts about the judiciary: Civil courts are NOT forums for settling whether you have a certain right or not. You can't get very far if you go to a court and say, "This is my right, that is not his right!" Civil courts, including quasi-judicial bodies such as RERA and Debt Recovery Tribunal, are forums for deciding whether reliefs prayed for may be granted or not, and whether they should be granted or not in your specific case. Debating among ourselves in terms of our rights versus someone else's rights (or about who is right and who is wrong) can lead to us making poor legal choices.

Also, let us understand that the language of our discourse, the underlying assumptions and decision-making processes are critical.  If your advocate or legal advisor seems cocksure that he/she is always right, you should wonder whether you are in safe hands. It is safer to be guided by someone who seeks legal counsel from more experienced and wiser heads, and is open to course correction. Also, wisdom and charisma may not go hand-in-hand; charismatic leaders may be unwise and prone to errors in decision-making. Letting the majority decide is also a dangerous mindset, because the majority is often dead wrong.

Winning in court is not the same as winning an argument. Judges are not there to see who scores the best debating points. To even think in terms of "winning" and "losing" is a huge mistake if you are going to court. Rather, you need to consult and discuss in terms of what reliefs you can seek, and from which forum; and how to maximize your chances getting those reliefs. Also, if you fail to get those reliefs, what can you do next to attain your objectives?

For approaching a judicial forum, the correct ways of framing the issues are:

a) What are the applicable laws in this context? Which specific sections are applicable to us?

b) What is our desired outcome? What is our Plan A? If it fails, what is our Plan B?

c) If we want to execute Plan A, which forum is most suitable? And how to present our issues before that forum? What are the reliefs that we should seek, so that our desired outcome can be achieved.

d) Is it possible to switch from Plan A to Plan B? Is it possible to agitate our issues before Forum A or Forum B, or either, or both (sequentially)? If so, what should our game-plan look like?

Please decide on a legal course of action in a cool, analytical way.

What does Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act (MOFA) say? Click here to download the Act.

MOFA section 9 says, "No  promoter  shall,  after  he  executes  an  agreement  to  sell  any  flat, mortgage  or  create  a  charge  on  the  flat  on  the  land,  without  the  previous consent  of  the  persons  who  take  or  agree  to  take  the  flats,  and  if  any  such mortgage  or  charge  is  made  or  created  without  such  previous  consent  after the  agreement  referred  to  in  section  4  is  registered,  it  shall  not  affect  the right  and  interest  of  such  persons."

In the light of this MOFA section, THREE QUESTIONS:

1) Does even one flat-purchaser of Serenity have a registered agreement of Sale? Even one registered agreement can be a trump card, and it can help us to turn the fight around. Quick, find that person and get a copy of agreement!

2) Can we convincingly argue in court that majority of Serenity flat-buyers paid much more that 20% maximum booking amount stipulated under MOFA, and therefore, for the purposes of the law, the agreement should be deemed to have been registered? Section 4(1) of MOFA says: "4.(1) Notwithstanding anything contained  in  any  other  law,  a promoter  who  intends  to  construct  or  constructs  a  block  or  building  of  flats, all  or  some  of  which  are  to  be  taken  or  are  taken  on  ownership  basis,  shall, before,  he  accepts  any  sum  of  money  as  advance  payment  or  deposit,  which shall  not  be  more  than  20  per  cent.  of  the  sale  price  enter  into  a  written agreement  for  sale  with  each  of  such  persons  who  are  to  take  or  have  taken such  flats,  and  the  agreement  shall  be  registered  under the  Registration Act,  1908  and  such  agreement  shall  be  in  the  prescribed  form." Since MOFA casts a duty upon the builder to register the agreement after receiving 20% of the consideration value, his neglect of that duty cannot be interpreted as giving him the freedom to mortgage the project to Xander! 

3) Now that Bhagtani has flagrantly violated at least two sections of MOFA, can we convincingly argue before the judicial forum that it is against judicial principles to allow Xander to profit from such violations? Can we argue that Xander failed to perform due-diligence before taking Serenity as a security for its project loan to Bhagtani? And therefore, the cost of its failure must be borne by Xander and not by Serenity flat-buyers?
The answers to the above questions (no. 2 and 3 especially) may uphold those who argue that Xander does not have a lawfully enforceable lien. If so, then Xander's lien can be challenged. However, practical difficulties arise.


Difficulty no. 1: Appropriate forum for appeal against the order under SARFAESI Act (in favour of Xander) is NOT MahaRERA. Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) also may not have jurisdiction in our matter, as we are neither secured creditors nor debtors. An outright challenge to Xander's lien can probably only be filed before High Court, and that also, by means of a civil suit that is precisely worded and reasoned. (Don't even think of a PIL or Writ Petition, because no instrumentality of State is involved in our cause.)

Difficulty no. 2:  Appeal against Xander's proceedings under SARFAESI Act may already be time-barred, owning to our inaction till date. Or maybe not. We need to check the Act and rules to understand this. Secondly, while litigating for assets, one is typically required to deposit some percentage of the asset value with the court, to rule out a frivolous and vexatious claim to such assets. Suppose the asset is worth Rs 50 crore, are Serenity flat-buyers willing to deposit 10% i.e. Rs 5 crore with the court? And finally, high court litigation for assets etc. is generally costly. Do people have the stomach for a prolonged and costly legal battle against Xander? If or when the time comes to raise such amounts, can they be relied upon to participate?

Difficulty no. 3: Let us assume that the best-case scenario happens, i.e. Serenity flat-buyers get a favourable order from Bombay High Court and even Supreme Court within one year, does it mean that the land automatically belongs to Serenity victims? No, because overturning the SARFAESI order does not automatically give Serenity flat-buyers title and possession over the project land. To get the land, appropriate proceedings will have to be taken up before MahaRERA, to invoke RERA section 18 and take over the project land from Bhagtani. This will not necessarily be a cakewalk.

Difficulty no. 4: Again assuming the best case scenario, Serenity buyers' association will have to take physical possession of the project land with all its shortcomings (reservation, etc.), and then either sell it and monetize it, or give development rights to a builder to construct flats and give it to the allottees. Do we know what the land is really worth and how much FSI it has? It may be desirable to engage with an architect or Project Management Consultant to understand the value of the land before entering into legal battle.

The main point of this article is to strengthen the hands of some flat-buyers who are applying their mind methodically to the issues. There is some food for thought for the serious-minded. Winning arguments on WhatsApp groups may not help you take the right legal decisions for recovering your losses.

One hears a lot of I-want statements like, "I don't want a flat after many years, I want my money back! With 15% interest! And with compensation on top of that! And I want it NOW, not after years of fighting in court! What do I have to do with Xander? I don't know Xander! I gave my money to Bhagtani, and I want it from Bhagtani! Why should we go after Xander and let Bhagtani go scott-free? That is exactly what Bhagtani wants!" People who apply their mind in this way should consider writing off their losses, because they may not be psychologically suited for a legal battle.

Bottomline: The current default position is that Xander has a legally valid lien over the Serenity project, unless proven otherwise. Proving otherwise may not be easy. Establishing the legal rights of allottees within the framework of that default position would be relatively easy. Let us look at MOFA section 9 one more time, and focus on the second part: "No  promoter  shall,  after  he  executes  an  agreement  to  sell  any  flat, mortgage  or  create  a  charge  on  the  flat  on  the  land,  without  the  previous consent  of  the  persons  who  take  or  agree  to  take  the  flats,  and  if  any  such mortgage  or  charge  is  made  or  created  without  such  previous  consent  after the  agreement  referred  to  in  section  4  is  registered,  it  shall  not  affect  the right  and  interest  of  such  persons." If the judiciary can be persuaded to overlook the bit about registration of agreement (because it was the builder's default, not ours), and to consider the allotment letters in place of agreements, then the rights and interests of allottees will remain unaffected by Xander's mortgage. This means that no matter which builder Xander sells the project to, the rights and interests of the allottees will have to be honoured by him. 

Krishnaraj Rao

Flat Buyers Beware: Alibaug Cliff Haven is Marina Scam Reloaded

Mumbai, 5th February, 2018: Before booking a flat in Cliff Haven Alibaug, please be aware that your flat was sold to somebody as "Marina Alibaug" in 2011-12 by Realliance Constructions along with Prachin Hotels and Resorts Pvt Ltd. The main promoter of Marina, Pravin Hirji Thakkar, has multiple criminal and civil proceedings against him, and is absconding. Ashok Chhaganlal Thakkar, Ashwin Mohanlal Thakkar and others who are part of Enamour Realty Pvt Ltd and Sunvenn Advisors Pvt Ltd are now reselling flats in the same property by packaging the old wine in a new bottle.  If you purchase flats in Cliff Haven, be warned, you may get stuck in multiple litigations!

On November 11, 2017, a large advertisement appeared in Mumbai edition Maharashtra Times for Cliff Haven in Alibaug, a project by Enamour Realty Pvt Ltd, marketed by Sunvenn Advisors Pvt Ltd. Below is the advert.

"Cliff Haven" advertisement in Maharashtra Times, November 11, 2017.
Flat-buyers and property investors, be warned, this is a scam.
In February 2011, an advert had been published in Loksatta for a property by RCL (Realliance Constructions Ltd) for Marina. Cliff haven is basically the same property.

"Marina" advertisement in Loksatta, 13th February, 2011

Without intimation to the original flat buyers, Ashok Chhaganlal Thakkar and his colleagues took over the unfinished Marina property and completed it according to the same plan (except that they added one more floor and replaced the sloping roofs with terraces). 

Visual comparison of Marina with Cliff Haven:
Marina project, as shown in the brochure

Cliff Haven project, as shown on the website.

Approximately 72 residents of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane paid over Rs 4.5 lakhs in the hopes of owning a beach-front property in Alibaug, whose total price was quoted at Rs 15 lakhs. Some of them have initiated court proceedings and even received orders in their favour. 

The location of Cliff Haven (formerly Marina) project site is as shown below on the website:


More will be revealed in future articles about the criminal activities of Pravin Hirji Thakkar and his colleagues in various corporate entities that are connected to him.

Bottomline: Avoid Cliff Haven Alibaug like poison. And if you have already booked flats in Cliff Haven, take immediate steps to register an FIR with police Economic Offenses Wing (EOW) against the directors of Enamour and Sunvenn for cheating you.

Krishnaraj Rao

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Proposal for RTI Activists: Go Political

Mumbai, 31st January, 2018: After RTI Act was enacted in 2005, activists were filled with optimism that the system could be reformed. We believed that MCGM would enforce DC Regulations, Fire Safety norms, etc. if we pointed out violations by builders, hoteliers, contractors, encroachers, slumlords, politicians, etc. 

Sadly, our experiences in the last decade have proven us wrong.


1) Earlier, we believed that INFORMATION COMMISSIONERS, APPELLATE TRIBUNALS & COURTS would uphold us with straightforward interpretations of laws and rules. We were wrong. 

2) Earlier, we believed that the establishment would HONOUR AND PROTECT RTI ACTIVISTS and whistleblowers. We were wrong. People who expose wrongdoings are termed as blackmailers. They are targeted by both sides. 

3) Earlier, we believed that DEEMED CONVEYANCE would give home-owners control over their destinies. We were wrong. It only gives scope for more rampant corruption.

4) Earlier, we believed that RERA Act would solve the problems of the common man. We were wrong. RERA is misinterpreted, twisted and watered-down to suit the builders. 

5) Earlier, we believed that the COOPERATION DEPARTMENT would uphold the law protectors. We were wrong. Government departments are on the side of law-breakers.

6) Earlier, we believed that MOVEMENTS & AGITATIONS like India Against Corruption (IAC) were the answer. We were wrong. The system just waits for us to exhaust ourselves.


A new national political party has been registered, named "Janata Congress". (The name can be seen as a joke on existing political parties, or a serious effort to unify the divided political scenario.) Our activist colleague Sulaiman Bhimani has been appointed as Maharashtra State Convenor. He proposes to unify RTI Activists and citizens fighting illegal builders, etc. He proposes that Janata Congress Party can be our rallying point for fighting against illegal activities that the establishment is protecting.
Sulaiman also proposes to take up Judicial Reforms -- an issue that every existing party is shying away from. Let there be a public outcry for video and audio recording in all courts, and time-bound justice through abolition of tareekh pe tareekh

You are cordially invited to attend a meeting to debate the pros and cons of this proposal. 

Room No.104, 2nd Floor,  
All India Institute for Local Self Government 
Mayor Hall, Juhu Lane,
Andheri West 
(5 mins walk from Rly station)

Sunday, 4th February, 2 pm onwards

Come, joint in a frank-and-free discussion with Sulaiman and his activist friends such as Mohd. Afzal, Sunil Ahya, Anil Galgali and myself.

RSVP Krishnaraj Rao
Mobile 9821588114
Whatsapp 8169471229

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Proposed: A Peaceful Path for Serenity Flat-buyers

Mumbai, 31st January, 2018: In the light of Xander's recent move to take over Serenity project under SARFAESI Act (Read Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's order dated 15th Jan 2018), it would be smart to first seek clarity from the horse's mouth on where it stands in the matter of the rights and entitlements of allottees. A corporate body like Xander is geared to give flats to the allottees by completing the project with another developer or turnkey contractor such as L&T. It is also necessary to be realistic that fund-raising, internal democracy and project management are massive challenges for a flat-owners' association.
Remember that Serenity project is mortgaged to Xander, and not just the land. Bhagtani's declaration of encumbrances on RERA website also states this (Read the declaration). This is further confirmed by Xander's own public notice. Allottees are an inseparable part of the project vis-a-vis Xander and their future assignees.

Unless unavoidable, we should avoid legal battles. As per the legal position, you should be taken care of by Xander. However, Xander hasn't acknowledged this till date, and we need it to do so.

Our proposed strategy is to cooperate with Xander takeover and completion of Serenity project, on the condition that it promptly recognizes the rights of allottees with proper legal documentation.


1) Issue legal Notices to Xander to clarify their stand on Serenity Allotment Letters and Cancellation Deeds issued by JVPD Properties.

2) Conduct dialogue and negotiations with Xander based on their stand.

3) Promptly seek legal paperwork from Xander i.e. registered agreements, etc. to secure the entitlements of allottees.

4) If Xander does not cooperate, take necessary steps before appropriate legal forums.

IF YOU AGREE WITH THIS APPROACH, click here to join Whatsapp Group called "Serenity Group for Flats".

Krishnaraj Rao

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Horizon meltdown exposes Bhagtani connection with Oyster's Tejas Tarun Vyas

Mumbai, 26th January 2018: Happy Republic Day! Bhagtani Horizon redevelopment project is in full meltdown mode, and this has special significance for all Bhagtani victims. The meltdown of Horizon project has exposed the fraudulent nexus between Diipesh, Mukesh and Lakshman Bhagtani and their close business associates Tejas and Tarun Vyas. It has given occasion for dozens of victims to file FIRs against Bhagtani while making Vyas the co-accused. You may ask why it is necessary to file such FIRs. The answer is that Tejas and Tarun Vyas of Oyster Living are deeply involved in Bhagtani's racket. Through their real estate projects such as Foresta and Foresta 2 (formerly called Serena), Tejas and Tarun Vyas have enabled Bhagtani to do money-laundering of several hundred crore rupees via the "transfer option".

Bhagtani Horizon's 8-storey frame.
Construction stopped in June 2016.
The most important reason for filing such FIRs is that Tejas and Tarun Vyas are secretly the treasurers of much of Bhagtani's diverted funds. A substantial portion of the funds that rightfully belong to the flat-buyers is lying in the bank accounts or vaults of the Vyas duo, and of their registered corporate entities such as Oyster Living and Tarunbharti Constructions, and unregistered partnership entities such as VV Realty.

Registering FIRs wherein Vyas and Bhagtani are named together as accused will mandate the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) to investigate their deep nexus. By keeping a very low profile, the Vyas duo has so far escaped the attention of Bhagtani victims, the authorities and the media, despite being at least ankle-deep, and more probably neck-deep, in the Bhagtani scam. Bhagtani has made consistent efforts to divert attention away from the Vyas duo. But now, the implosion of Horizon project may help to put the spotlight on Vyas and expose the money-trail.

New signage showing takeover by
Oyster Living / Tarun Bharti
Horizon and four other registered projects of Jaycee Homes are a constant reminder that RERA registration is not a guarantee of a good project. Bhagtani registered these projects with an intention to cover up their scam.

How Horizon was a Bhagtani Scam

After demolishing the original four-storey building of Udayachal Goregaon Cooperative Housing Society (pursuant to a development agreement signed in April 2013), Jaycee Homes erected eight floors of the new building called Bhagtani Horizon. The ongoing construction activity was useful for maintaining the illusion that Bhagtani was an active and successful builder, and also to offer "transfer option" to flat-buyers of Serenity, Riyo, Sapphire and Savannah.

However, after "transferring" around 42 flat-buyers to Horizon, Bhagtani stopped the construction activity in mid-2016. With almost every transfer, Bhagtani managed to squeeze a few more lakhs from the people who had already been cheated of several lakhs in their first flat purchase.

The public notice issued on
Saturday, 20th Jan, 2018,
severing all ties with
Bhagtani and Vyas.
Entry of Vyas into Horizon

In the wake of multiple Bhagtani scams being publicly exposed in the latter half of 2017, Tejas and Tarun Vyas seem to have convinced the helpless members of Udayachal Goregaon CHS and the transferred flat-owners that they would take over and complete the project. Why? Supposedly because Bhagtani had stood by them in hard times, and now they wanted to return the favour.

In October-November, when Diipesh Bhagtani was employing various diversionary tactics in Bombay High Court to avoid getting arrested, his close "family friend" Tejas Tarun Vyas was calling all the allottees one by one and informing them that he was now the owner of the Horizon project. It is interesting to note that in order to avoid uncomfortable questions, he did not call them together in a meeting,  "Bhagtani has transferred the project to me, and now onwards you have to make all future payments to me," he informed them. 

"We will start work in one month," Vyas assured the flat-buyers. "Parallelly, all registered agreements with Bhagtani will be transferred in my name, and RERA will be informed for transfer," he said. These were all verbal assurances; nothing was given in writing.  

In November 2017, committee members of Udayachal Goregaon CHS were temporarily fooled into formally assigning Bhagtani's development rights to Vyas. But it took only a few weeks for them to come to their senses and realize that they had been fooled. Bhagtani was no longer in a proper legal position to dispose of any assets, being persona non-grata in the eyes of law. The society may have been advised by legal brains that the bid by Tejas Tarun Vyas / Tarunbharati / Oyster Living to semi-officially take over the unfinished redevelopment was basically unlawful. Bhagtani's recent property transactions would likely be annulled and reversed by the High Court. 

The public notice issued on
Thursday, 25th Jan 2018,
to dispossess 
and claimants. 
And so, the cooperative housing society called off the deal with both Bhagtani and Vyas through a public notice in The Times of India last Saturday(20th January). 

This was closely followed by another public notice in yesterday's paper, which indicates that the society has already appointed another builder to complete the project. 

What will happen to allottees of Horizon?

There are estimated to be around 42 persons who were purchased flats from Bhagtani, usually by the transfer route. The question that arises is: will the new builder honour the allotment letters issued by Bhagtani, against payments of large amounts? Not likely! 

The new builder clearly intends to dispossess these allottees unless they take legal steps within the next 14 days to protect their rights. The second notice says, "Any entity/persons... having any right, title, benefit, claim or demand in respect of the under mentioned property and/or Existing Building... is/are hereby required to make the same known in writing, along with supporting documentary evidence, to the undersigned within 14 days... failing which such right, title, benefit... if any, shall be deemed to have been waived and abandoned, and the transaction between Society and my client in respect of the Premises will be completed.

Let us understand what kind of people these allottees are. Anil Baru (name changed) booked a flat in Bhagtani Riyo in December 2012 by paying Rs 21 lakh. He was promised possession of a flat in December 2017. In September 2013, responding to a demand, he paid a further Rs 13 lakh before going overseas to earn a living.

Anil returned in November 2014 to find that construction at Riyo site had not started even after two years. And so he started asking for a refund. By May 2015, Bhagtani had succeeded in persuading him to transfer his investment to Horizon by paying a further Rs 9 lakh. It seemed like a good idea at the time because construction work at Horizon was in full swing. So Anil paid a total of Rs 43 lakh -- nearly 50% of the total consideration value of Rs 97.5 lakh and received an allotment letter for Horizon.

Signage of Bhagtani Horizon at the project site.
Today, Anil Baru and dozens of others like him are left with a huge question mark. Will they get their flat? Or will they get their money back? 

With the latest developments, the interests of 12 flat-owners of Udayachal Goregaon CHS (i.e. rehab component of Horizon) have been pitted against the interests of flat-buyers of Bhagtani (i.e. sale component).

Bottomline: The land-owners of Bhagtani Horizon, have taken legal steps to reclaim their rights over their land. The flat-buyers, whose money funded the construction of the 8-storey RCC frame, must take prompt legal steps to hold on to their rights and claims. 

Both land-owners and flat-buyers must file FIRs against Bhagtani and Vyas for putting them in this pathetic situation.

Krishnaraj Rao

PS: The Horizon meltdown was reported in DNA a couple of days ago. Here's the DNA report.