In a major setback for builder HDIL and its subsidiary Guruashish Constructions, Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) on Thursday took back part of its 10-acre plot in Goregaon (West) from Guruashish where it was supposed to redevelop Patra Chawl. The reason for this step is inaction on the part of builder.
Following a 2008 agreement with Mhada, Guruashish had been given the rights to develop 48 acres of Mhada land, including 10 acres, for the Patra Chawl redevelopment. It was to rehabilitate 672 Mhada tenants and was permitted to sell the free sale component at the market rate to buyers. It also sold the free sale rights to other builders based on a 2011 NOC from Mhada.
Mhada cancelled its agreement with Guruashish in January though, after the builder left the tenants in the lurch, stopped their rents for alternate accommodation and failed to hand over Mhada’s share of constructed property. Mhada said nine years on, the work is still incomplete.
The termination led to litigation in the Bombay high court where other builders to whom Guruashish had sold development rights are fighting to protect their rights and insolvency proceedings initiated by banks before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). On April 2, the tribunal allowed Mhada to take back its land during pendency of insolvency proceedings against Guruashish. On April 4, though, Justice S J Kathawalla of Bombay high court was informed by a counsel that the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in Delhi had directed Mhada not to take coercive steps.
On Thursday, though, Mhada moved HC to point out that NCLAT had passed no such order against it. Mhada counsels Janak Dwarkadas and S U Kamdar said the statement was “incorrect” and “amounted to interference in the administration of justice”. They sought action.
The HC heard senior counsels Navroz Seervai who appeared for the “resolution professional” and Arif Bookwala, appearing for HDIL. The resolution professional—chartered accountant R K Bhuta appointed as an officer to handle affairs of Guruashish pending insolvency proceedings—“unconditionally apologized” for informing counsel Seervai that NCLAT had passed the order when it had not. The HC accepted the apology with a warning. Bookwala said he had mentioned the NCLAT order based on a text message sent by Sarang Wadhwa, director of HDIL. Justice Kathawalla issued notice to Wadhwa directing him to showcause why no action should be taken against him for sending incorrect message to his advocate, which, in turn, was conveyed before HC by which it was misled and prevented from hearing the matter.