Bombay HC to DGP, ET RealEstate

October 30, 2023

MUMBAI: Bombay high court recently directed the state DGP to conduct a thorough inquiry into the manner in which Naupada police station in Thane was investigating allegations against a builder of duping many flat buyers after slamming the approach so far as “pathetic” and “lackadaisical”.

“The conduct of the investigating agency speaks volumes and with great reluctance we have to note that the interest of accused persons is being protected than the interest of victims in the crime,” said a bench of Justices A S Gadkari and SU Deshmukh in an October 18 order.

The HC said it is informed that “there are almost 11,500 persons who have been duped in a systematic planned manner by the company, namely, Karam Infrastructure Private Limited, and its directors.”

Observing that the interest of gullible flat purchasers needs to be protected, the HC asked a senior advocate to mediate as well for three projects.

The Bombay high court said it thus directs the Director General of Police to appoint a senior police officer of the IAS cadre, preferably the rank of commissioner of police of a commissionerate, to conduct the inquiry. The inquiry must be completed within four weeks and a report submitted by November 29 to HC.

The HC was hearing pleas to transfer three separate FIRs registered with various police stations, including the one at Naupada, to an independent probe agency. The flat buyers alleged that gullible flat purchasers were lured into investing their hard-earned money into housing projects but the possession is still due and for the last several years they said they were “running from pillar to post to get justice” as even their amounts were not refunded with interest.

“We are forced to give such directions seeing the pathetic approach of investigating agencies towards the investigation of present crimes of such a magnitude. For obvious reasons, the investigation of present crimes is not being conducted diligently,” said the bench adding, “It is extremely sorry state of affairs of the investigating agencies of the present crimes.”

But apart from merits, the HC felt the interest of the gullible buyers needs to be protected and thus appointed senior counsel Rajeev Patil who was appearing in one matter for five purchasers to act as a mediator for three projects of the builder, to try and resolve the issue.

Patil accepted the task after the HC expressed its faith in his professional ability and impartiality.

A preliminary meeting of advocates of affected flat buyers will be held on October 31 at the main mediation centre, high court , Mumbai. Patil has till November 9 to submit a comprehensive scheme to the high court which will hear the matter next on November 10.

  • Published On Oct 30, 2023 at 09:26 AM IST

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