Flat Sale or Leave & Licence? Jain "Charitable" Trust cheats Blind Flat-buyer
Mumbai, 17th February, 2017: It's a simple case of cheating and breach-of-trust by a Jain "charitable" trust called Vardhman Sanskar Dham (Trust Reg. no. 19790 – Mumbai). In 2007, Vardhaman Sanskar Dham purchased a flat in Nairut building, Rajiv Nagar, Virar, for Rs 4.30 lakh. Four years later, in 2011, the trust sold this flat to a blind man named Mr Jethmal Sonigra for Rs 13.19 lakhs, earning more than three times the amount that it had invested. However, although the first letterhead-receipt of the trust clearly shows that Mr Sonigra had paid for purchase of the flat (565 sq. ft. x Rs 2,600/-), the second letter says that this amount is a "deposit" against which "we have hand over possession for residence purpose".
Through this letter, this "charitable trust" is trying to say that allowing him to stay in this house was only a "charitable act" towards a blind man, and the money that he paid them – three times the price of the flat – was only a "deposit"!
|Jethimal Sonigra and his daughter Pravina.|
At first Sonigra did not suspect foul play. For over four years, Sonigra kept on pursuing the trustees to register the sale, and the trustees kept on postponing and evading him. In the course of this transaction and its follow-up, the blind man interacted with Mr Yogesh M Shah (chief trustee), Mr Jyotish N Kuwadia (trustee), Mr Bharat Sakaria (trustee), and Dineshbhai (retired trustee), who all kept passing the buck at one another.
In October 2016, Sonigra finally decided that enough was enough, and he sent the trust a formal letter through a lawyer requesting them to register a sale agreement. The trustees haven't replied in writing, but they have been telling the blind man that they will make a Leave-and-Licence agreement, but not a sale agreement!
Now at the end of his tether after five years of chasing the trustees, Sonigra submitted a written complaint to Arnala police station. Surprisingly, it seems PSI Govle told him, after perusing the documents and speaking to CA Chetan Mehta and other trustees, that he should be grateful to Vardhman Sanskar Dham and its charitable-minded trustees!
Read these documents and understand the facts of the case:
- 2007 - Registered Flat-Purchase Agreement between builder and Trust.
- 2011 - Letter of sale given to Sonigra on Trust letterhead.
- 2012 - Trust letter stating that it was giving the blind Jain (Sadharamik) man "possession" against a "deposit" because he required "accommodation".
- Oct 2016 – Lawyer's letter to the Trust asking them to register Sale Agreement.
- December 2016 – Sonigra's police complaint to Arnala Police Station
Vardhaman Sanskar Dham Trust has at least 10 flats in Nairut building alone, and 30 or more flats in surround areas in Virar. Some flats are held in the names of trustees. Quite a few flats are occupied by "charitable" occupants like Jethmal Sonigra.
How many more followers of Jainism has Vardhman Sanskar Dham exploited? Is this their regular modus operandi?
Written with key inputs by Sulaiman Bhimani (9323642081)
ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
1) Read the emailed rebuttal of Vardhaman Sanskar Trust.
2) Read specific questions which the trustees declined to answer.