AHMEDABAD: A Satellite resident, who fought a protracted legal battle with a builder at RERA after he was denied possession of the premises for well over a year, has written to the regulatory body to collect Rs 33 lakh as penalty from him. According to the buyer’s calculation, the penalty to be collected from the builder for allegedly flouting orders, overcharging and leaving other financial issues unresolved comes to that amount.

The buyer, chartered accountant Tushar Shah, has claimed that he was charged money over the agreed sale price, not passed on some tax benefits that accrued and was given possession long after the promised handover.

Shah had booked a 1,273 sq foot office on the eight floor of Ratnakar Nine Square building opposite Keshavbaug Society for Rs 51 lakh in December 2016. He has claimed that builder Upendra Shah of NCPL Infracon LLP refused to give him possession of the office despite him having paid the full amount of the purchase price.

AC ki taisi! Demand for extra Rs 3L the final straw

The final straw in the bitter dispute came when the builder allegedly asked for an additional Rs 3 lakh for installing air-conditioners in the premises. Shah refused to pay the additional money, claiming it was not part of the agreement. Shah eventually got possession of the office after he approached the police and met the city police commissioner for assistance, and filed a complaint at the Satellite police station. Subsequently, he also reached out to Delhi-based Director General of Anti-Profiteering forum to seek recovery of an additional amount that the builder allegedly gained from transition from Service Tax regime to the current GST norms while the construction was on.

Took 90% payment at the time of booking

According to Shah, he was asked to pay Rs 46.56 lakh at the time of booking the Rs 51 lakh property. He paid up, but claimed the amount was way higher than the 20% permitted to be collected as initial payment.

“Builders cannot ask for more than 20% of the total sum till the agreement of sale is entered into. The sale agreement was to be entered into only in April 2017.”The buyer later paid the rest of the Rs 10 lakh, which included the remaining amount of the purchase, maintenance deposit and two years’ annual maintenance. He said he was promised possession in December 2018. But when he sought possession of the office in May 2019, builder Upendra Shah allegedly demanded an additional amount for the ACs he had fitted. “I told the builder that ACs were not part of the agreement with him.” When contacted, builder Upendra Shah said, “The case is presently on. If you wish, I can give you my advocate’s number. Let me send you his number.” He, however, did not send across his lawyer’s number. A subsequent call made to him and messages sent did not receive any response.

RERA penalty of Rs 10,000 per day

Tushar Shah approached RERA for dispute resolution. It passed an order on August 29, 2019 asking the builder to hand over possession of the office within 30 days. In a subsequent order after the builder did not give possession, RERA on January 17, 2020, asked the builder to pay Rs 10,000 per day to the authority for not implementing its order. Subsequently, Shah approached the police and also met then Commissioner of Police Ashish Bhatia in July, who passed instructions to the police station concerned to ensure that the sale deed was executed and the CA got the possession of his office.

“Two months later, on August 27, 2020, I was finally handed over possession.” Shah told Mirror. He now wants the builder to pay 24% interest on the amount he paid for a 20-month delay in possession, exactly the way the builder would have charged him for delayed payment.

When approached, head of RERA’s legal department, Asit Upadhyay, said, “A hearing will be held on March 4 for which we have called all individuals with similar problems.”



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