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ED attaches flats worth Rs 462 cr in Mumbai in slum rehab fraud case

Enforcement DirectorateThe Enforcement Directorate on Friday said it has attached 33 flats worth Rs 462 crore in connection with its money laundering case probe relating to alleged violation of the slum rehabilitation scheme in the Bandra area of Mumbai.

The central probe agency said the attached flats belonged to Ms Pyramid Developers and the case related to alleged use of “fake documents for fraudulent availment of extra FSI (floor space index) under the SRA (slum rehabilitation authority) scheme”.

The agency had registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in March last year and had conducted searches at multiple locations of the firm and those belonging to Congress leader and former Maharashtra minister Baba Siddique.

The ED had taken cognisance of a Mumbai police FIR for filing the case under the PMLA.

“The FIR reveals that the suspect persons have defrauded the state (government) by preparing false ration cards, photo passes, shop and establishment licences and submitted the same to the SRA with an intention to get approval from the SRA for redevelopment scheme of Jamat-E-Jamhooria CHS Ltd in Bandra (West),” the agency said in a statement.

The bogus documents, it said, were also used to get extra Floor Space Index (FSI) for wrongful gains.

It said the firm–Pyramid Developers– was appointed as the developer and Ms Neo Modern Architects as the architect for the redevelopment project.

The investigations revealed that a number of violations were committed in the construction of the building by allowing exemptions which were not available to the said project by virtue of it being in the CRZ-II (costal regulation zone) and in effect consuming FSI in excess of permissible limit, which is 1.5 in aggregate, it said.

“The enhancement of FSI from 1.5 to 1.875 was only for in situ rehabilitation of slum dwellers and not applicable on developer sale component,” it said.

The state police had registered an FIR in the case in 2014 on directions of a local court to probe financial irregularities in this slum rehabilitation project in which Siddique is alleged to have been involved.

Siddique was chairman of the Mumbai board of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) between 2000-2004. The MHADA was the land owning authority in this case.

Siddique had denied allegations against him in this case in the past.

In 2012, a complainant had approached a local court stating that the flats allotted in the residential buildings constructed after demolishing a slum in suburban Bandra were granted on the basis of alleged fake documents.

“This is the first attachment in this case and further investigation is in progress,” the ED said.

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