Monday, December 16, 2013

The Murky Mysteries of Mahindra Park Ghatkopar West, Mumbai, India.

This is a social media experiment. I purchased a flat in Mahindra Park  towards the end of 1997. Sixteen years later, I find that there are some serious problems there which need to be solved urgently. It cannot be done by a single person, and I believe social media may provide the answers.

Please find enclosed the gist of the story at Mahindra Park Ghatkopar which I have christened "The Murky Mysteries of Mahindra Park". I have provided links to a blog I created specifically to load documents and evidence regarding this story. Trust this is of use to those of you who follow issues of public interest and chose to take up causes.

The Murky Mysteries of  Mahindra Park

·      Mahindra Infrastructural Developers develop a residential property in Ghatkopar and sell flats from 1997 onwards.

     The sales agreement mentions a land parcel of 32,463 sqmts of land and 400 flats with a swimming pool, club house with gymnasium and kids play area along with ample car parking.
Mahindra’s build 440 flats in 11 blocks and then hand over part of the land to the MCGM as a Municipal Garden and also promise to construct a Maternity Hospital in the premises in exchange for additional FSI to construct another 40 flats!!
·         The land area available with the MPCHSLtd ( flat owners) comes down to 26,702 sqmts!! A reduction of 5,761 sqmts of land. This would have a market value of at least  Rs 120 crore/- according to real estate consultants!!

·         There is then the possibility of misrepresentation by the builder regarding open spaces available to the flat owners as the letters from the builder evidence…
·         Within all this, the role of the Management Committee’s begin to look very mysterious and inexplicable.  There is a resolution passed in a Special General Body Meeting in  January 2007 to initiate legal proceedings against the builder and that is not acted upon till date, after nearly 6 years!!!
·         The person who moved that resolution is Mr Ashish Mehta, who is now the incumbent Secretary. He however has a completely different point of view, almost justifying the builder, which he aired to a correspondent from the Economic Times!!
·         Another Management Committee member by the name of Ashok Kheratmal who was also the Secretary of the MPCHSLtd mentions that when he went vigorously against the builder and led a march of the residents  to the Police Station, he received threatening calls.
      The circular he distributed on the 12th December 2009 is a veryuseful document, since it lists all the issues involved. It is an eternal mystery as to why this was not followed through!! It is now 4 years since this note and things have not moved much!!!

      He mentions in an email to the members in January 2013, that he received threatening calls on more than one occasion.He apparently also filed a complaint at the Police Station. He has since then, gone cold on this issue.      

      In 2010, the builder sent a “proposal for conveyance” wanting the Management Committee to approve the plans to give up the land for a Park and the Maternity Hospital. They also suggested a proposal to allow them to construct a road through the property to connect another plot they were developing with the Mahindra Park main entrance. All of this was rejected by the legal counsel  who is also a resident of Mahindra Park. His recommendation that we move legally was strangely not acted upon for nearly 3 years now!!!

·         Another member by the name of Sudip Narvekar ( Cell Phone XXXX) has gone ahead and filed a case against the builder ( MLDL) and the Mahindra Park Cooperative Housing Society Limited ( Management  Committee). He was however forced to move outside and lease his house out to somebody else!! A climate of fear has therefore been created and a culture of cowardice.
·         This explains the anonymous tweets and anonymous emails floating around. The tweeter apparently posted aggressive messages on Anand Mahindra’s tweeter account demanding corrective action!!!
·         Mahindra’s allegedly have sold the undeveloped plot near Mahindra Park to Damji Shamji Shah Group. There is now fear that this Group may build the road through the property by influencing the Management Committee and since the conveyance is still with the builder, it will be difficult for the flat owners to move legally.  

    POST SCRIPT. 21st  FEBRUARY, 2014. 
    My investigations are over. A circular to all the members of Mahindra Park is carried below:

Dear All,
  • This is to let you know that my investigations into the "Mysteries of Mahindra Park" are over. The findings that are relevant to you are given below. You will also find the text of a missive sent to the MCGM and the Government of Maharashtra regarding the observations and a request to correct the same.
  • It is clear that the sale agreements signed by Mahindra Lifespace Developers ( MIPL) were for 32,463 sqmts of land and that the land use agreement mentioned in the agreement was CE/355/BPES/LON dated 14.5.1994.
  • This land use plan was changed  by Mahindra Lifespace Developers, without the knowledge and express consent of the members who had purchased flats in Mahindra Park and land was unlawfully handed over for creation of a maternity hospital, recreation ground along with the access road to these areas.This is evidenced by the altered and amended copy of CE/355/BSE/LAN dated 26.08.2003. This is a violation of the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act.
  • This has left the member owners of the Mahindra Park with only 26,702 square meters of land. This is roughly equal to the FSI utilized by Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd and barely keeps all the buildings and the 440 flats, barely within FSI limits. The balance land, where FSI utilisation is not possible due to height restrictions and D.C.Regulations, has been unlawfully handed over to the MCGM, to obtain additional FSI, to build another block of flats, as also  TDR, for FSI to be utilised elsewhere.This is clearly unlawful and the builder has taken away land estimated by some, as worth more than Rs 140 crores!!
  • The altered plan of 26.08.2003 also does not provide for any space to be provided for parking facilities to the 440 flat owners, as is required by the DC Regulations and MOFA and is therefore unlawful. The open space calculations seem to be for 26,702 sqmts of land and not the full 32,463 sqmts of land.
  • The RG in front of A to E blocks has been falsely indicated as belonging to Mahindra Park in a communication from Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd dated 13.10.2010. Documents clearly evidence that MCGM owns it and that we have been only paying for its maintenance.

  • Since the MCGM would become a co-respondent in any litigation regarding the unlawful land use plan, I have written to MCGM and the Maharashtra Government, to repudiate this land use plan, including the sanctions for the Maternity Hospital, RG and the TDR and to return the land taken away from us. As also  to instruct Mahindra Lifespace Developers to issue us the conveyance for the full 32,463 sqmts of land, as per the law and regulations prevailing.
  • Cancelling the land use plan CE/355/BSE/LAN dated 26.08.2003 and getting a revised plan, which provides for 25% open space and car parking area for all the 440 flats, would be the way forward.
  • Mr Ashok Kheratmal has shared with me a letter dated 24th Dec 2007signed by most members which requests Mahindra Lifespace Developers to stop the construction of the Maternity Home. He informs me that he had sent copies of this to the MCGM also. I believe a similar joint petition should be sent to MCGM and to the Chief Minister's Office,signed by all members asking the authorities to rescind the land use plan CE/355/BSE/LAN dated 26.08.2003 and for their intervention to get us the long overdue conveyance for the 32,463 sqmts of land that belongs to us.
  • This should then be followed up with a legal notice from the elected representatives in Office and signed by all the members. The litigation should then start, if the response is not positive. The litigation should be initiated by the elected Management Committee. The MPCHSLtd has the option to initiate criminal proceedings for criminal breach of trust and my counsel informs me, that it would be the best option to take.
  • My counsel informs me that a lone member petitioning this issue, may have lesser chances of success, as compared to the full general body. The judiciary could ask why most members are silent and protesting only through anonymous sources, when they stand to lose so much of their money. It is a question which media is also asking. It is also clear that the litigation would and could benefit everyone, so why should just one person or a few others bear the entire burden of costs, risk and time? I have therefore declined the financial help offered by some members and asked them to persuade the Management Committee to act on this without further delay, or petition the Registrar of Cooperative Societies to do so.
  • As far as I am concerned I have done my bit. There is nothing more to be done here.
  • The case rests.
Vinod Natesan
D55 Mahindra Park

15th February 2014
Sitaram Kunte, IAS
Municipal Commissioner
Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai Municipal Head Office Mahapalika Marg Mumbai-400 001.
Sub: Request to investigate possible violation of various laws relating to the DevelopmentControl Regulations , Maharashtra Region and Town Planning Act, MaharashtraOwnership of Flats Act, Mumbai Munical Corporation Act, Urban Land Ceiling Registration Act and thevarious IOD’s issued to the MahindraLifespace Developers Ltd, (Previously known as Mahindra Infra-structural Projects Ltd andMahindra Gesco)
Reference:Mahindra Park Cooperative Housing Society Ltd. MUM/WN/ HSG(TC)/8644/SAN-2001. CTS175, Narayan Nagar, LBS Marg,Ghatkopar West. Mumbai 400086.
Your Reference:IOD dated 7.2.1994 carrying file number CE/5629BPES/AN
Commencement Certificate CE/5629/BPES dated 20.4.1994.
Commencement Certificate CE/5628/BPES/AN dated 7.4.1997
Land Use Plan approval CE/355/BPES/LON dated 14.5.1994
Altered and amended copy ofCE/355/BSE/LAN dated 26.08.2003
Dear Sir,
We, as residents of Mahindra Park, had purchased flats underthe provisions of the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act and were promised 32,463sq mts of land since 1997, from CTS 175, N ward, Ghatkopar West.
Till date, the conveyance has not been provided for theentire 32,463 sqmts. The MPCHSLtd had, according to the office bearers, made verbal requests and these were not responded to, positively.
On 9th December 2009, the MPCHSLtd has written to the MCGM and the local police station of violations regarding the provisions ofthe Section 7 of the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act Section, violations of DC regulations 23 and 29 and thevarious provisions of related laws. Construction of a Maternity Hospital by unlawfully handingover our land was then stopped. The land however is guarded by theSecurity Guards of Mahindra Lifespace Developers and is not available to us. An RG located in our premises has been unlawfully handed over to the MCGM for public use, since 2003, in violation of laws and without our consent. Please rescind the approval given to a public RG and return the open space.
In 2010 we received a proposal for conveyance which suggested that the land use plan was amended without our consent and that the land committed in agreement to us which came to 32,463 square meters and was reduced to 26,702 square meters. This clearly is unlawful and the builder has committed a criminal breach of trust by giving away land already sold to flat owners to the MCGM to possibly avail of additional benefits of TDR and related FSI. The CE/355/BSE/LAN dated 26.08.2003therefore should be repudiated and declared null and void.
Please also be advised that the parking lots as required by Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act have not been provided to all the flat owners (only 60 or so, out of the440 flat owners, have dedicated parking lots) and the plans submitted, do not provide the space for this. The current practice of parking followed by residents is clearly violating the rules for Fire Safety and was pointed out in a Fire Brigade audit.
The builder has also misrepresented facts in his letterto us of 13th October 2010,where it was mentioned that an RG under CTS 183/a is for the exclusive use ofMahindra Park residents. Evidence indicates that in 2009 the MCGM hadwritten to MIPL to return the RG back to the MCGM since they were not maintaining it properly. The MPCHSLtd has been paying for its maintenance since.
We would also like to inform you that the plot shown asIndustrial Plot Plot D in the CE /355/BSE/LAN has been handed over Samji DhamjiShah Developers and a residential plot “Tivon Park” is being marketed to buyersvide their web site. We have been told by prospective buyers that the access road to this plot for motor vehicles could be given through Mahindra Park. A similar proposal was made by Mahindra Lifespace Developers in the past, which was rejected by the General Body. Interestingly, the boundary wall that connects Tivon Park with MahindraPark was brought down recently and till date, it has not been reconstructed . Since the Management Committee has not acted on this, we have moved the Registrar to remove the Management Committee under Section 89 of the Maharashtra Cooperative Housing Society Act for failure to protect the assets of the Housing Society.
The legal counsel for the residents, had clearly warned that in the event of a road passing through the Mahindra Park Society, connecting Tivon Park and Mahindra Park, there would be violations of the DC Regulations with regard to open space requirements and also violations of Maharashta Ownership of Flats Act with respect to parking rights of members and unauthorized use and denial of property owned by them.
The owners of this residential area were clearly promised a gated community with the land available being 32,463 square meters and ample parking space and open spaces for families to live in peacefully. All this has been violated. One member has already taken the builder and the Management Committee to court. Social media is also active with this issue and the newswas carried in Economic Times
It is quite possible that this could blow up into a media circus when the residents file a writ in High Court. More so, given that the issue of real estate would be headline news in this election after the Campa Cola and Adarsh stories. Appealing to you and the Chief Minister is the first step in the process. Legal action would be the last resort. Hope your intervention renders legal options superfluous.
For and on behalf of residents of Mahindra Park
Vinod Natesan. D55 Mahindra Park. Narayan Nagar, LBSMarg, Ghatkopar West, Mumbai 400086.
Post Script.
I sent across a complaint to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and received this response from his office. Hopefully corrective steps will be taken and our land returned to us.
Response from the Chief Minister's Office to Mahindra Park Residents

If you need anymore  details or contact numbers or any copies of documents , please email me at

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