The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has in the last two months issued recovery warrants against developers who failed to comply with its orders to refund home buyers under Section 40(1) of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act.
“Any authority can approach the Collector for revenue recovery under the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code for recovery of arrears. MahaRERA adjudicating officer BD Kapadnis has issued recovery warrants in several cases where the authority’s orders to refund were not complied with,” MahaRERA Chairperson Gautam Chatterjee told Mumbai Mirror.
Under section 18 of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code (MLRC), revenue officers like tehsildar have powers to carry out searches, freeze bank accounts, seize a property and put it on the auction block.
“MahaRERA has issued 11 recovery warrants so far, including one each in Mumbai city, Thane, Chandrapur, and Raigad. In Pune, six warrants were issued, including five against one developer,” said MahaRERA secretary Vasant Prabhu. In April, Kapadnis had issued recovery warrant against Firoz Tinwala and Mustafa Firoz Tinwala, developers of Ashrafi Towers, after the they failed to comply with his order to refund home buyers Amit Malik (Rs 35 lakh), Shankar Kamble (Rs 18 lakh), Nasir Patel (Rs 35 lakh), Shakir Patel (Rs 35 lakh), Jameruddin Shaikh (Rs 34 lakh), Nayab Faukat (Rs 8 lakh) and Shadab Faukat (Rs 8.5 lakh) with interest. The developers were then served a showcause notice under Section 63 of RERA as to why penalty should not be imposed on them.
“Despite the notice, respondents have not appeared to explain why the order has not been complied with. So, it is necessary to issue recovery warrant under section 40(1) of RERA instead of proceeding under Section 63 of the Act. Hence, the recovery warrant is issued and it is being sent to the Collector,” Kapadnis noted in his order.
Similar recovery warrants were issued against Pune-based developer Sigma One Shilp Ventures after they failed to comply with the refund orders dated January 3, 2018 in favour of six home buyers – Shailesh Pardikar (Rs 62 lakh), Parag and Sonam Jain (Rs 53 lakh each), Gaurav Joshi (Rs 36.36 lakh). Jitendra and Nilima Chaudhari (Rs 67 lakh) and Prashant Karodpati (Rs 64 lakh) in connection with La Cabana project in Pune’s Sus. During the hearings, Sigma One Shilp Ventures had pleaded not guilty of delayed possession and argued that the project was delayed due to reasons beyond their control. A recovery warrant was also issued against Pune-based Darode Jog Homes Pvt Ltd.
On May 3, developer’s advocate OS Tilekar sought four days’ time to file an appeal against the January 3 order, but the prayer was not granted by Kapadnis, who pointed out that RERA allows an appeal to be filed within 60 days of the Authority’s order which was over.
Similar recovery warrant was also issued against Rohit Chugani of Kambar Constructions after the developer failed to comply with the order to refund Rs 36 lakh to home buyers Pradnya and Nikhil Sable. Kambar Constructions had filed an appeal before the RERA Appellate Tribunal, which was rejected. Kapadnis then issued the recovery warrant and sent it to the Thane Collector to be executed by Kalyan tehsildar Amit Sanap.
When contacted, Sanap said, “I am not aware if the warrant has reached my office, but as per the land revenue code procedure, we will serve a notice to the developer to pay the amount within seven to 15 days, and if there is no response, we have the powers to seize the property concerned, and auction it to recover the money.”
When Mirror tried to reach the developers concerned, there was no response from Sudhir Darode of Darode Jog Homes and Firoz Tinwala. Sigma One Shilpi Ventures’ Chief Operating Officer Jaideep Parekh said “We have already filed an appeal before the Appellate Tribunal.” When contacted, Rohit Chugani of Falco Developers said, “We decided not to go in for further appeal. My project is four months away from possession. We are tired of fighting, and if the authorities want to seize the property, we will co-operate even if it affects the fate of the project.”