Ownership of Mhada lottery’s costliest flats under dispute
State housing board Mhada’s lottery for 1,384 flats been marred by a legal dispute over its three costliest apartments averaging Rs 5 crore each.
The managing committee of Dhavalgiri society in Grant Road, where these flats are located, has disputed Mhada’s ownership in a lawsuit filed in the Bombay high court on December 4. Coupled with that are claims that the “owner” owes the society dues averaging Rs 75 lakh.
During the first hearing in the high court on Monday, Mhada’s Repair and Reconstruction Board officials insisted they have legal possession of these flats.
Mhada has put three two-bedroom houses for sale in Dhavalgiri society that was constructed by a private builder in 2003. Flat no 501 on the fifth floor costs Rs 5.8 crore, while other two on the third floor—301 and 302—cost Rs 5.13 crore and Rs 4.99 crore respectively. Around 136 people have put in applications for Sunday’s lottery.
An office-bearer of the society told media, “Mhada has not submitted any documents to prove ownership of these flats despite repeated reminders. A few years ago, the earlier owner reportedly sold them to Vivek Enterprises. Then we heard that Vivek Enterprises sold it to Mhada in 2013, but the society has received no documents.
For us, Mhada is a trespasser on the property. So, those who buy these flats from them will also be trespassers. We will not transfer the flats in the lottery winners’ names.” A deed of reconstitution of Vivek Enterprises, provided to media by the society, shows that Lodha Developers is a partner in the firm.
The society members questioned how Mhada could go ahead with the auction knowing that the matter was sub judice. Another member said, “Moreover, Mhada as ‘owner’ of these three flats has not paid maintenance dues of Rs 75 lakh.
Does it expect the winner of the auction to settle these dues?” He said this was the reason the flats were so poorly maintained. Media had reported that the floors were uneven, the plaster peeling, bathrooms unusable and fittings decrepit.
A Mhada representative said, “We have legal possession of these flats, including the agreement and documents, which were produced before the court. The society’s main grouse is the unpaid maintenance amount. The RR Board said this matter will be sorted out at our end.” When asked how Mhada could go ahead with the auction when the ownership was under dispute, he added, “The society is concerned about pending dues. Those have been factored in into the price of the flats.”