News Point: Supertech is a case study in flouting norms in connivance with officials, taking home buyers for a ride and media management to cover up its malpractices.Â
The news about the forgery by serial offender Supertech leading to cancellation of its Yamuna e-way township plan has not come as a surprise. As a matter of fact, this is the third major instance, besides many instances of buyersâ€™ harassment and flouting of norms, in recent times where the real estate developer has taken both the government authorities and the buyers for a ride.
In the latest instance of forging the document, in 2015 when Supertech sought the completion certificate for the project, the two successive CEOs of YEIDA – Santosh Yadav and Anil Garg – pointed out that building plans had been modified on the basis of a forged document.
One of NCR’s biggest real estate players by market size that claims to have delivered 16,000 apartments this year, Supertech has once again landed its buyers in a big mess. The building plan for its 100-acre township – Upcountry – on the Yamuna Expressway has been cancelled after two successive CEOs of the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) pointed out that the builder had got a revised plan sanctioned on the basis of a forged letter. Both recommended that an FIR be lodged against Supertech.
This letter from 2011 paved the way for Supertech to increase its ground coverage at the cost of open area in the township. Supertech thus sold an extra 730 plots and villas for an estimated Rs 343 crore.
Supertech Upcountry, with 28 towers, each housing 120 residential units, 948 villas and plots, is almost â€˜sold-out, at least the builder claims it on the official website.
Supertech was allotted a 100-acre plot – TS-1 – in Sector 17A along the 165-km Yamuna Expressway on June 14, 2010. The plot was registered in August. The then Chairperson and CEO of YEIDA Mohinder Singh sanctioned the layout plan of the residential township on January 25, 2011 as per YEIDA’s building bylaws of September 2009.
However, YEIDA received a letter (no: 2153/77-3-10-01) dated September 13, 2011, purportedly signed by ‘Secretary to the Government of UP, Alok Kumar’. The letter referred to Supertech Ltd’s proposed township, saying that since no construction had been carried out on the said plot, Supertech should be allowed to construct on TS-1 as per YEIDA’s new bylaws, which came into force in December 2010.
On a specific inquiry initiated in 2015 by the then YEIDA CEO, Santosh Yadav, the joint secretary of the UP government confirmed in writing that it had issued no such letter, which meant the September 13, 2011 letter was forged.
A senior YEIDA official told TOI, “Supertech had produced a letter from the government, which gave the builder the benefit of extra ground coverage due to implementation of the building bylaws of 2010. In 2015, the then YEIDA CEO Santosh Yadav was informed about the letter being fake after which a verification was carried out and the government confirmed that no such letter had been issued and that it was a fake. Yadav had then directed that a show-cause notice be issued to the builder and an FIR be lodged.”
“In compliance with Yadav’s directions, the sanctioned plan of the township has been cancelled. As far as the FIR is concerned, legal advice is being sought in the matter. In the meantime, the developer has made a representation to Noida Authority Chairman Rama Raman (he is also the YEIDA Chairman) that he be heard as the sanctioned plan was cancelled without a fair hearing. We then told him to approach the UP Government as the matter involved a fake letter. The developer has now represented to the government that his sanctioned plan was wrongly cancelled and he has asked for his plan to be reinstated after imposing a financial penalty on him.”
Supertech CMD R K Arora told TOI he “was not aware of any letter between YEIDA and the government”. “The plan for the township was sanctioned in November 2011 as per applicable bylaws and condition of lease deed. Ground coverage is as per applicable bylaws.”
History of default
This is not the first time that Supertech has been in trouble for flouting the norms. In April 2014, the Allahabad High Court directed two towers with 857 residential units at its Emerald Court project in Noida’s Sector 93A to be demolished for flouting building norms and violating provisions of the UP Apartments Act of 2010. The matter is pending before the Supreme Court.
In April this year, the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority directed Supertech to seal 1,009 flats and villas at its Czar complex in Greater Noida for large-scale violation of the sanctioned layout plan.
In this case, the forged letter from 2011 paved the way for Supertech to increase its ground coverage at the cost of open area in the township. Supertech thus sold an extra 730 plots and villas for an estimated Rs 343 crore.
Many of the buyers of Supertech allege that the builder resorts to arm-twisting and pressure tactics to extract more money. In one such case (Track2Realty has recorded evidence of the discussion) the buyer was asked to pay Rs. 2 lakh as â€˜facilitation feeâ€™ or bribe to Noida Authority for property transfer even before the first buyer had got the registration done.
It is a common knowledge that Supertech has many such cases of default but is know to manage the media to the extent that the buyersâ€™ grievances are often not heard.
The big question today is that whether the toothless industry body CREDAI with a holier-than-thou President, Geetamber Anand step in to take some action. Isn’t it a fit case to drop Supertech from industry body to improve the perception management of India’s dirtiest business?
By: Ravi Sinha