The Law Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested the businessman and director of Mantri Developers Pvt. ltd. Sushil Mantri on Saturday under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA) for laundering money, a knowledgeable official said on Sunday.
Mantri’s arrest added to the apprehensions of members of the Mantri Serenity Home Buyers Forum, who have filed several complaints with the police as well as the ED before, demanding answers and expressing apprehension at developments that threaten their chances of own a house.
On June 17, the forum had filed a complaint with ED alleging that the Bengaluru-based builder was attempting to launder money through the Undivided Share of Land (UDS) scam and concealment, in the locality of Doddakallasandra on Kanakapura Road in the city.
“The project, Mantri Serenity Joint Development, took place in 2010 and buyers started booking in 2012-13. The first date of possession was in December 2015. The project kept falling behind schedule and even in June 2022 the project was not completed as promised by the builder. The builder did not release the possession with certificate of occupancy to the homebuyers even after the buyers had paid more than 90% of the money, and some of them had even paid 100% of the money for their apartments a long time ago,” the complaint read.
HT saw a copy of the complaint.
The forum also filed a police complaint following which a First Information Report (FIR) was filed in 2020 at SubramanyaPura Police Station and it is still under investigation.
“We went to the Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) to inquire about our status as we have already paid the money. If he (Mantri) is arrested we now have some apprehensions regarding the project as the owner -even was arrested. We paid ₹80-90 lakh for the property. Now what will happen to us,” said Dhananjaya, who identifies himself as the forum’s principal secretary, on Sunday.
A few forum members held banners outside the Serenity property on Saturday, demanding the completion and delivery of the homes, some of which were booked in 2013.
Dhananjaya said he bought the flat under a construction-related plan which would mean payments had to be made in phases while there were others like the pre-EMI scheme. , buyback program and other promotional offers designed to increase sales as well as make it attractive to buyers.
“The project is ongoing and people have started moving in. The arrest of the developer has no impact,” said a CRM from the Serenity Project, asking not to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the media.
He added that there were 2,152 apartments under the Serenity project and 80% of them had already been sold with at least 352 families already living there.
Regarding the delay in handing over the houses to buyers, he said there was a cash flow crisis which has now been resolved.
In October 2020, Mantri developers said they would relaunch their residential project, Serenity, under the ₹25,000 crore SWAMIH (Special Window for Affordable and Mid-Income Housing) investment fund, set up by the Union government to complete brownfield projects stalled in the affordable/mid-income housing category, said a report in The Hindu.
The case is no different for several other home buyers, especially those who have invested their money in Mantri properties.
Another project, Mantri Webcity, also suffers from the same set of problems where homebuyers have paid almost the full amount for the property but have yet to get the promised delivery or services.
“In Webcity, things are not going really well. The situation is actually pathetic. There are people who booked their apartments in 2013-14 and they haven’t seen their properties. Some of them have seen their floors built but nothing more. Few of them received their apartment but there is no official certificate or any other document. These buildings even lack basic amenities like electricity,” lamented another homebuyer, Jainendra Singh.
He added that several cases had been filed with the police, the National Company Law Court and the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), but there was no respite for buyers. of houses. Mantri developers could not be reached for comment.