Why Didn’t You Build Our Flats Where You Promised, Indiabulls?
Buyers of Centrum Park, a project by Indiabulls in Gurugram, feel cheated due to the delay in the possession of flats.
Buyers of Centrum Park, a project by Indiabulls in Gurugram, feel cheated due to the delay in the possession of flats.(Photo: Ankita Das/ The Quint)

Why Didn’t You Build Our Flats Where You Promised, Indiabulls?

Roti, kapda aur makaan, that’s the order of priority for us Indians. Owning a house is a symbol of pride, a sure sign of upgradation of status. Shelter is a fundamental need occupying the first step in the pyramid of human needs, as had been suggested by Abraham Maslow in his Hierarchy of Needs Theory in 1943.

A spurt in the number of private builders who make promises about delivering dream homes has changed the landscape of housing sector with lack of regulations proving to be a headache for buyers.

Santosh Kumar is one such customer who has been waiting for his flat since 2009 but feels he has been duped by the real estate company Indiabulls.

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Santosh Kumar’s Voice

I had paid a certain amount in advance for the flat in June 2009. At that time, they had come up with a scheme requiring us to pay a hefty amount as part of initial installments before switching to the regular system of EMIs (each monthly installments). So, I paid Rs 1,21,000 in June followed by a payment of Rs 2,21,000 within the next sixty days after which we got the registration certificate.

Screenshot of the contract between a buyer who had purchased a flat in Centrum Park from the real estate company Indiabulls in 2010.
Screenshot of the contract between a buyer who had purchased a flat in Centrum Park from the real estate company Indiabulls in 2010.
(Photo: The Quint)
The Centrum Park project was among the first few projects launched by Indiabulls in the National Capital Region. The total value of the flat at that time was Rs 26 lakh.

To clear the remaining amount, I took a loan from India Bulls Finance – a subsidiary of the real estate company. The total amount from India Bulls Finance was Rs 20 lakh.

At the time of purchase, the total area of the flat was 1,200 sq ft.

To my surprise, I received a message from the company after ninety days that the area of my flat has been increased and so the value of the flat had also gone up. So now I had to pay Rs 31 lakh instead of the original price of Rs 26 lakh.

As bizarre as it might sound, this was in accordance with a certain clause, I was told, that allowed them to tinker with the area of the flat.

In 2011, my brother had met with an accident so there was a phase when I could not pay the EMI. I wanted some time from the builder to allow me to pay the due amount a little later, but no one was willing to listen to me. ‘Aapki problem hai (it’s your problem),’ said an executive when I approached the office of the company in Gurugram.

In fact, when I was dealing with this personal crisis, the company sent some nasty messages warning me that the contract might be terminated due to non-payment of the monthly installment.

By July 2012, I had paid almost 95 percent of the amount due on my flat after availing the facility of advance salary at my office.

While I was struggling to pay the remaining amount as I was keen on taking possession of the flat, there was another crisis-in-the-making. Suddenly I had doubts about delivery of flats on the said date because whenever we used to visit the site, the pace of construction suggested that this house won’t be completed on time.

A copy of the computer generated receipt by Indiabulls that shows the initial valuation of the flat in Centrum Park as Rs 26 lakh which was later hiked to Rs 31 lakh.
A copy of the computer generated receipt by Indiabulls that shows the initial valuation of the flat in Centrum Park as Rs 26 lakh which was later hiked to Rs 31 lakh.
(Photo: The Quint)

As if all this inconvenience was not enough, I received the shock of my life in 2012 when we realised that the Block B where my house was supposed to be located had been shifted way behind in the housing complex.

Screenshot of the map of the Centrum Park Project showcasing the position of towers A,B and C respectively. It was this map that was part of the brochure given to buyers.
Screenshot of the map of the Centrum Park Project showcasing the position of towers A,B and C respectively. It was this map that was part of the brochure given to buyers.
(Photo: The Quint)

The map that had been handed out to us clearly had my flat close to the gate. So, there was A block and then C block and B Block had been conveniently shifted without taking the consent of the owners.

‘Misery Brought Us Together’

“We were defrauded by the builder,” says Manoj Tiwari, a Delhi-based textile trader whose wife had bought a flat at Centrum Park in sector 103 in Gurugram in 2009. In a telephonic conversation with The Quint, Tiwari said that in an era preceding the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016, commonly known as RERA, the builder used to wield a certain influence, enough to intimidate buyers like him.

Screenshot of the mail sent by the customer care department of Indiabulls to the buyers of Tower B on 1 June 2017 claiming that more than 90 percent of the work is complete.
Screenshot of the mail sent by the customer care department of Indiabulls to the buyers of Tower B on 1 June 2017 claiming that more than 90 percent of the work is complete.
(Photo: The Quint)

It took seven years for buyers like Tiwari to take the legal route as the couple kept on hoping that things will be sorted out soon, and his wife might get possession of the flat.

“Misery has brought us together,” says Tiwari referring to the ongoing case being heard at the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) in which six buyers have demanded compensation for the delay in handing over flats to them and have expressed their discontent due to the change in position of the said tower by the builder allegedly without taking their consent.

Case Against the Real Estate Company

Arjun Sayal, the lawyer representing the six buyers of the Centrum Park project at the NCDRC, told The Quint:

It’s a representative complaint filed by my clients on behalf of all the allottees of Tower B. Our case is that unlike the original brochure, the developer decided unilaterally to shift the tower to another place. Apart from that, possession of flats has also been delayed by a substantial amount of time, so my clients have also sought compensation in this regard.
Arjun Sayal, lawyer representing the buyers of the Centrum Park project

Sayal further added, “The matter is pending determination before the Hon’ble National Commission.”

No Response from Indiabulls

The Quint contacted the head office of Indiabulls in Gurugram for a response and we were told to call their Mumbai office where our subsequent calls went unanswered.

On 23 March, The Quint sent a questionnaire to the media representatives of Indiabulls, we are yet to receive a response. The questions mailed to the real estate company Indiabulls were as listed below:

1) What explains the delay in possession of flats in Tower B at Centrum Park in Gurugram which was due for delivery in 2013?

2) Did Indiabulls take the consent of the buyers of Tower B at Centrum Park in Gurugram before shifting the tower behind Tower A and Tower C?

3) Why is it that the flats have not been handed over to the buyers when 95 percent of the cost has been paid to Indiabulls between 2009-2013?

We will update the story as and when we receive a response.

(Report compiled by Akanksha Kumar.)

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