HUNDREDS of high-net-worth flat buyers in Mumbai have accused a realty major — founded by Mumbai Bharatiya Janata Party President Mangal Prabhat Lodha — of taking them ”for a ride after they booked posh homes at his prestigious project ”The Park in Lower Parel, which also houses the ultra-exclusive Trump Tower.
Several complaints (copies accessed by IANS) have been filed with the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA), alleging various discrepancies and delays in the project, ostensibly in connivance with officials of the Shiv Sena-controlled Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM).
Despite repeated attempts by IANS, Lodha Group”s top officials including CEO-cum-Managing Director Abhishek Lodha and the official spokesperson, did not respond for comments.
Interestingly, the matter has emerged barely three days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to roll out the red carpet for US President Donald Trump on his visit to India from Monday.
The complainants have accused Lodha Developers — also known as “Macrotech Developers Ltd” — of luring the gullible buyers in the name of the world-renowned ”Trump” brand, with an unbelievable offer of a ”private jet aircraft service”, but later ”cheated” them though they have paid up 95 percent of the amounts.
The agitated buyers said they were promised delivery/possession of their flats in the project in Dec. 2017, but now the builder is not giving them a completed property, as committed.
“We have sunk in crores of rupees of our hard-earned monies, but have not got possession of our flats yet. The builder has obtained a ”Part Occupation Certificate” by making fraudulent claims to the MCGM, and on the basis of that, he is now forcing us to take possession of those ”incomplete flats” after taking the full payment,” one of the aggrieved buyers, who is a prominent Mumbai businessman, told IANS.
Among other things, the interiors of the posh flats in Wing No. 1 to 4 are incomplete, finishing works not given to the staircases, lifts, lobby and the common areas, which now the buyers “are expected to do it themselves”.
Irked by all this, the buyers demanded: “How the MCGM has issued the ”Part OC” without verifying the actual ground realities? This blatant illegality must be independently probed”.
It maybe recalled that in February 2018, US President Donald Trump”s son, Donald Trump Jr. had made a high-profile visit to Mumbai and cut a ribbon marking completion of construction of Mumbai”s first and only 78-storied ultra-luxury ”Trump Tower”.
The 800-feet tall Trump Tower offers a magnificent view of the city and the Arabian Sea, and was touted as India”s first to offer the residents the facility of a ”private jet” aircraft service, attracting many wide-eyed wealthy buyers. (IANS report, 22-02-2018).
The builder said that world-famous interior designer Hirsch Bedner Associates would do the interiors for the flats in Trump Tower under the ”Lodha Luxury Collection”.
“We are proud to announce that Trump Tower Mumbai has reached its highest level of construction. Mumbai has emerged as one of the most preferable destinations for luxury real estate and we are honoured to have a place within the city,” said a beaming Donald Trump Jr., Executive Vice-President of Trump Organisation at the ceremony.
Despite the initial big buzz among the rich and big daddies of corporate world over the super-exclusive Rs 7 crore (3 BHK flats) and Rs 10-crore (4 BHK flats), construction of which started in 2014, the buyers are left high and dry with their monies sunk in the project.
Among other things, the flat buyers were promised — besides the ”private jet” — white-gloved services, a spa, a private pool, a lounge, gym, central air-conditioning, penthouses on the upper floors, Trump Card Privilege Programme, a seven-tier security system, etc.
“Not only these, we were promised many other amenities inside and outside the homes, but now the builder is going back on all this and forcing us to accept the possession of the incomplete venture based on the MCGM”s Part-OC,” claimed another flat buyer.
According to the complaints with Maha-RERA, there are many other irregularities and violations of the MCGM regulations, pertaining to the actual carpet areas, toilets, plans amended without permission of the flat buyers, and though many safety measures are not fully implemented, the customers are being compelled to take up possession based on the Part OC.
“Mumbai has witnessed many fires in high-rise buildings in recent times, resulting in many casualties and fatalities Who will be responsible if something happens here? Will the Trumps or Lodha compensate our losses if we take possession and live in this building under extremely hazardous conditions,” demanded one more agitated buyer.
The complainants rue that despite laws like RERA, developers merrily continue to arm-twist the home-buyers, and Lodha Developers is unilaterally claiming waiver of rights to any claims of the buyer if the buyers decides to pay up as per his demands.
This means that the buyer who has already paid up upto 95 per cent of the money is left with no options but to pay the balance out of fear of losing his entire money or the flat, given the builder”s political clout and money-power.
Incidentally, Mangal Prabhat Lodha and Abhishek Lodha are the son and grandson, respectively, of the late legal luminary and three-time BJP MP from Pali, Justice G. M. Lodha — the former Chief Justice of Guwahati High Court – who passed away 11 years ago.