24th August, 2017: Our previous article was about how the Allotment Letter issued by builders Dipesh and Mukesh Bhagtani (JVPD Properties, Jaycee Homes, MD Devcon, etc.) is full of cunningly drafted clauses for cheating people who book the flats. This present article is about why buyers MUST NOT SIGN the Cancellation Deed even after informing Bhagtani builders that they want their money back. Because the Cancellation Deed and all related documents are cleverly worded to deprive the flat-purchaser of all their evidences and their legal rights!
It is well known in the market that all the Bhagtani realty projects are traps for unwary flat-purchasers / investors. People who invested lakhs of rupees for booking flats in Bhagtani Sapphire (Dahisar East), Bhagtani Serenity and Bhagtani Krishaang (Powai), Bhagtani Riyo (Mira Road), Bhagtani Savannah (Kanjurmarg East) and Executive (Ghatkopar West) are now trying to recover their money, with or without the 15% interest promised to them. After hearing dozens of explanations and excuses from the builder’s sales office, people have lost all hope that these real estate projects will be completed.
In spite of this, the sales office keeps issuing call letters asking many investors to pay the next instalment; the allotment letter earlier issued clearly mentions that if the investor does not pay the instalment on time, he will forfeit the booking amount and/or be charged 21% penal interest! Naturally, to stop this extortion, a flat-buyer who has lost faith in the project will inform the sales office that he wants to cancel the flat booking, and wants all his money back with 15% interest as promised.
The sales office then starts playing many mind-games and legal games with the flat buyer.
Game # 1: TOOTHLESS TIGER
When a flat-buyer says that he wants to cancel the deal, a new drama begins: Bhagtani’s sales office tells him that his money will be refunded only after he signs a cancellation deed. This may sound legitimate, but actually, it isn’t! Because the cancellation deed is cleverly worded in such a way that it lets the builder escape all his legal obligations, and converts the aggrieved buyer into a toothless tiger! If you sign the cancellation deed, you have to surrender all your original signed documents, including allotment letter and receipts. Also, you have to pledge never to exercise any of your legal options including going to any legal forum or approaching the media. Keep in mind that you have to proclaim that the builder is now free to resell the flat that you had booked. Also, you have to proclaim that you are cancelling your flat-booking due to your own personal reasons (and not because of the builder’s failure to complete the project and give possession of your flat). Please note, you are required to do all this and give the builder a clean chit without the builder repaying a single paisa of your booking amount!!!
In return, the builder’s sales office will only give you a “receipt” that is to be signed by you, which actually states that they will start repaying your money after a year or even later. Please note, this document does not create any legal obligation on the builder to actually pay you, because it is signed by you, not by the builder.
And in the end, even after signing the cancellation deed, you will not get back your money! After waiting for a couple of years, you will realize that you have been fooled, and now, since you have returned the original documents and given the builder a clear chit, you are officially a toothless, clawless tiger!
Please remember, nobody respects a tiger without its teeth and claws. If a toothless tiger goes to the police or court or any other authority for help, he will be told, “Did anybody hold your hand and force you to sign these papers? Did anybody force you to sign at gunpoint? Are you illiterate or are you blind? Are you a child? Why did you sign? Why did you voluntarily allow your teeth and claws to be removed?” Courts cannot help someone who voluntarily renounces his/her legal rights and remedies, and gives up his original documents and receipts. If you say that you were forced to do so, the courts will ask you how you were forced; and you will be compelled to admit that you were just stupid and ignorant. (RERA may help, but you will have to make out your case properly.)
Be warned: Bhagtani’s office staff specializes in exploiting your psychology and short-sightedness, and convincing you to sign papers and perform various actions that will stop you from going to any legal forum for enforcement of your rights.
CLICK HERE to read a copy of cancellation deed for Bhagtani Riyo.
Game # 2: LAW OF LIMITATIONS
After the Cancellation Deed is signed, the Bhagtani builders always delay for months and years in starting the repayment. There is a method in this madness. The reason for this deliberate delay in refunds is: the Law of Limitations. There are various limitation periods for litigation against cheating, bounced cheques, civil suits for recovery of dues, compelling the performance of contracts, etc. Every passing week and month that you fail to litigate makes you weaker. If you land up in court three years later and plead that the builder owes you a lot of money, the judge will ask, “Why didn’t you come within the limitation period? Why did you delay so much? Your excuses are not acceptable! Now we will not admit your suit, because the limitation period is over!”
Game # 3: PSYCHOLOGICAL MANIPULATION
Aggrieved investors/flat-buyers form associations and groups on Facebook, Whatsapp and other online and offline forums. But are you sure that everybody in the group is genuine? It is easy for builders to ensure that their own stooges (who may also have papers showing that they have booked some flats) become prominent in such associations and forums. Stooges may act out many roles, including becoming your personal advisors, arranging meetings with the Bhagtanis or their “senior management” for negotiations (which are basically delaying tactics), recommending a “good lawyer” for you (who mislead, demotivate and delay you), sidelining the genuine group leaders, sidetracking meaningful discussions, suppressing outspoken group members, etc. Stooges may show that the builder has returned their money, and therefore, their methods are effective. By talking about group unity, these stooges may encourage herd mentality and persuade determined individuals not to approach appropriate forums like RERA and National Consumer Redressal Forum. They may persuade you not to approach the media, as it will amount to “defaming the builder”. Associations and online groups are useful for sharing information, but please keep in mind that they can be used for psychologically manipulating you, because the rewards for successfully misleading or delaying even one flat-purchaser are huge!
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