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- MahaRERA dismisses complaint against Bhujbal co
The developer of Hexworld project is M/s Devisha Instrastructure Ltd, one of the family-owned companies linked to Chhagan Bhujbal, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the Prevention of MoneyLaunderingActlastyear.Bhujbal's MLA son Pankaj, nephew and former MP Sameer Bhujbal, and relative Satyan Kesarkar, are directors of Devisha Infrastructure.
The promoters of Hexworld project have registered nine 39-storey towers and three 24-storey towers with MahaRERA as an ongoing real estate project. They revised its original December 2018 possession deadline to December 31, 2033. The project was attached by the ED in November 2015 as part of the action taken against Chhagan Bhujbal, who had launched Hexworld when he was home minister in the Congress-NCP government. The project was stalled after the plinth was built.
Buyer Amitkumar Ahuja had filed a complaint under Section 18 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, seeking a refund of his investment in a one-BHK flat, and a two-BHK flat booked in the name of his wife Swati in January 2010 and April 2011respectively. In his complaint, he said the project had been stalled for five years, and hence he wanted the developer to return his money. The developer claimed MahaRERA had no jurisdiction to decide the complaint.
During the hearing on the point of maintainability of the complaint, adjudicating officer Bhalchandra Kapadnis, Member MahaRERA, observed that the date of competition (December 31, 2018) promised by the developer at the time of booking the flat had not lapsed, and hence Section 18 provisions did not come into play.
"Therefore there is no cause of action to file the complaint before the agreed date of delivery of possession. Hence, the complaint is not maintainable and it will have to be dismissed," Kapadnis said in his order.
During the hearing, the developer's advocate also pointed out that Hexworld has been attached under Section 5 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), but the home buyer, as an aggrieved party can challenge the order of attachment under Section 26 of the PMLA before the Appellate Tribunal.
However, Kapadnis cited legal provisions why this argument of the advocate did not hold. He said action under PMLA can be dealt with by the authorities mentioned specifically in Section 41 of PMLA, while MahaRERA has jurisdiction to adjudicate matters regarding the refund of amounts paid by the allottee (home buyer) to the promoter on the promoter's failure to hand over possession of the apartments on the agreed date.
"This jurisdiction does not fall under the duties of the authorities mentioned in Section 41 of PMLA. Hence the jurisdiction of MahaRERA is not barred from entertaining the complaints if they arise out of RERA, though the project might have been attached under the said Act," he ruled, dismissing Ahuja's complaint.
The ED attached Hexworld during actionagainstBhujbal,leavinganestimated 2,400 homebuyers in the lurch. The ED had contended in the remand applications that Bhujbal and his family members allegedly channeled the funds obtained in the Maharashtra Sadan case through family-owned companies like Parvesh Constructions Pvt Ltd, Armstrong Energy Pvt Ltd, and Devisha Infrastructure....