The MahaRera has issued showcause notices to Lokhandwala Kataria Constructions, promoters of the Rs 2,000-crore Minerva real estate project at Mahalaxmi, asking it why registration of the project should not be revoked for breach of conditions, which includes a claim made in an advertisement that it will be a 90-storey project and the tallest residential tower in India when the promoter has approval to construct only up to 77 floors.
The project is being promoted as Shapoorji Pallonji Mahalaxmi Minerva, reports Prafulla Marpakwar. A senior MahaRera official said a notice was first served on May 11. It was followed by another one on May 15. When satisfactory replies were not given by the promoters, the agency decided to invoke provisions of Section 7 of the MahaRera Act, which empowers the authority to revoke registration and impose penal action.
The MahaRera, led by veteran bureaucrat Ajoy Mehta, has issued two notices to Lokhandwala Kataria Constructions for breach of conditions regarding its Minerva project in Mahalaxmi, including a claim that it will be a 90-storey tower despite have permission to build only 77 floors. The notices were issued under the authority of MahaRera chief consultant Sanjay Deshmukh a week ago. The promoters have been asked to submit their replies before August 28.
When got in touch with Mohammed Abdul Hussain Lokhandwala and Ali Asgar Mohammed Lokhandwala of Lokhandwala Kataria Constructions, the latter did not respond and the former said, “I have nothing to do with real estate or MahaRera.”
A MahaRera official said, “We issued the showcause notices for non-submission of documents, for having maintained multiple bank accounts for the Minerva project and uncertainty over timely completion of project. We are looking at protection of home buyers for getting their premises within the time limit proposed in the application submitted during registration of the project.”
The official said “more shocking” was the claim of 90 storeys made in the advertisement and the claim that the project would be “India’s tallest residential tower”.
“As per the commencement certificate uploaded on the website, permission has been granted for up to 77 floors,” the official noted. The official said the promoter did reply to the showcause notice dated May 11, 2023, requesting for 30 days’ time to comply with the requisition and provide a detailed explanation. However, till date, no further reply has been submitted. “(With) your conduct of not complying with the requisition and non-submission of explanation, MahaRera has no alternative but to invoke Section 7 of the Act,” Deshmukh said in his notice.
Among the other main charges against the promoters are non-submission of forms, delayed status of construction, shortfall in the amount deposited (Rs 114.5 crore), shortfall in the amount to be deposited in the designated account (Rs 26.2 crore), “mismatch in the cost incurred with regard to completion percentage of the project”, and mismatch in the estimated and actual development cost as noticed by the project engineer.
“The promoter’s (initial) reply is silent on (all these) crucial issues,” the official said. MahaRera is the real estate regulatory authority in Maharashtra. Among its key responsibilities are ensuring that disclosures of real estate projects are made by developers, project corrections are carried out and complaints are redressed. The authority also makes recommendations to the government on matters releated to the development and promotion of the real estate sector.