85 families face eviction from flats
At least 85 families of software professionals are facing eviction notices served by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Mumbai in relation to a housing project constructed on a 0.83 hectare land in Hinjewadi. The ED had in 2013 attached the land in a money laundering case.
The project, Scrum Utkarsh housing cooperative, comprising 140 flats in three multi-storey buildings, is located near Le Royale hotel on Maan Road in Hinjewadi. The notices were served over the last three days.
“We are moving the Appellate Tribunal for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in New Delhi against the ED’s eviction notices, which we feel are in violation of the status quo in relation to the attached property ordered by the tribunal on September 6, 2017,” said Shivprasad Satpute, a partner in the Hindavi Swarajya Corporation Pvt Ltd that has developed the project.
On Sunday, an ED assistant director also lodged an FIR against a Mumbai-based businessman, who is facing the original money laundering case in which the attachment process was initiated; two partners in a realty firm to whom the businessman sold the land despite the confirmation of attachment order by a PMLA competent authority; the director of Hindavi Swarajya company; two offices of sub-registrar at Mulshi, Paud and Mulshi-2 and the realty firm and the developer firm as corporate entities.
The FIR alleges cheating, dishonest and fraudulent execution of deeds of transfer containing false statements (relating to the land) and criminal conspiracy on the part of the suspects. Provisions under the Prevention of Corruption Act have also been invoked. The FIR has since been referred to assistant commissioner of police (Chatushrungi division) Vikram Patil for investigation.
An ED spokesperson, who did not wish to be named, told TOI, “We have registered a case in relation to the property. I cannot comment any further on the matter. The law will take its own course.”
The ED has stated in its complaint that the land was provisionally attached in March 2013 during the course of a money laundering probe against the Mumbai-based businessman and his group of companies. Following a probe and registration of original complaint before the adjudicating authority for PMLA, the latter confirmed the provisional attachment in July 2013. However, the businessman sold the land to a realty firm in September 2013 despite the attachment orders, it alleged.
The FIR further stated that as part of a conspiracy, the realty firm, in connivance with the sub-registrars offices, sold the land to the Hindavi Swarajya Corporation Pvt Ltd, which developed the project and sold the flats.
In September 2015, the ED wrote to the inspector general of registrations (IGR) and controller of stamps in Pune to stop registering any fresh sale transaction relating to flats in the project in view of the attachment orders. “We had challenged the ED’s letter to the IGR in the Bombay high court. But the court said that we had the alternative remedy available in the form of the original complaint by the ED, which is pending before the Appellate Tribunal in Delhi,” said Pravin Gurav, director of Hindavi Swarajya.
“The court then disposed of our petition as withdrawn. Subsequently, we approached the Appellate Tribunal against the ED. The tribunal has since directed both the parties to maintain a status quo in respect of the attached properties and the matter is now listed for next hearing on February 13,” he added.
Satpute said the Hindavi Swarajya Corporation Pvt Ltd is neither a construction firm nor a land developing agency. “We are a group of about 100 software professionals working in different companies. We came together and bought this piece of land in January 2014. We wanted to construct houses for ourselves on a property near our offices,” he said.