builder in Ghaziabad has cheated more than 500 people who had purchased flats in a society named Aura Chimera by not handing over the flats even after two years of the promised date of possession.
The purchasers who include journalists, engineers, CRPF personnel among others are mostly from the middle class and have invested huge sums of money in the project by taking loans from various banks. Some of them have now formed a grievance forum to pursue the case and have registered 45 FIRs against Nitishree Infrastructure. But no action has been taken by the police.
Anil Jain, one of the owners of the construction company Nitishree Infrastructure was arrested on 13 September 2010 in another case of housing fraud.
"The builder lured us by giving attractive prices and we booked the flats," said Dharmendra Joshi, one of the members of Aura Chimera Grievance Forum. "At first we thought that because of recession the builder was not able to complete the project. We were shocked when we came to know that Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) had declared that towers that exceeded six floors were illegal," added Joshi.
"When we started filing complaints individually, the builder arranged a meeting with us and told us to stop our activities; otherwise he would give our money to the police to stop the case," said Dharmendra Joshi, one of the affected customers.
Manoj Tiwari, who has been allotted a flat on the eight floor said, "I have taken a loan of Rs 14 lakh and now the GDA is saying that the floors are illegal. How could the bank finance an illegal project?"
This newspaper wrote to all the banks concerned for a response. Axis Bank was the only one to respond to the queries maintaining that in 2007 when they approved the loans, the builder "had all the approvals from the Ghaziabad Development Authority". The bank's spokesperson said that it was not the job of the bank to verify that the project had been completed but that if any of its customers filed a civil case against the builder, "we will support them by all means. They are our customers not the builder."
Journalist Ajay Khudaniya, who has been allotted a flat on the seventh floor says, "We have not got any response from the builder or from the bank."
Joshi said, "According to our tripartite agreement we are not entitled to pay EMIs as the builder did not deliver the product on time. But the bank is still collecting EMIs from us." Joshi has taken a housing loan from ING Vysya Bank.
Another member, Rajesh K. Singhal, who is an engineer, says, "I have invested my savings in this project. I do not understand why our banks are not taking any action against the builder. The builder has taken a loan of Rs 16 cr from the bank by mortgaging the land of the society. The bank never questioned him."