Read the first-person account of Dr John Paul, an expat who nurtured dreams of gifting a flat to each of his two daughters. To his great misfortune, he was lured into booking two flats in Bhagtani Sapphire at Dahisar. His dreams were dashed to the ground, and his wife's sister also got cheated in the bargain.
Bhagtani Sapphire in Dahisar East, an SRA project of Jaycee Construction Company, was first marketed via several agents who were either company employees or contracted on a commission-basis. They were vigorously convincing people to buy their flats. Many estate agents across Mumbai also issued pamphlets outside places of worship with luring offers and hard-selling words like, “Your Dream house is just 3 years away!”
One such pamphlet led me to enquire more, since I had just sold some property in Naigaon and needed to make an investment in estate, as per the rules for taxation, before I could go back to work abroad in a few days. Sadly, the promises of the pamphlet lured me in and I got trapped.
I am a Dental Specialist and work with the Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia. My family i.e. my wife and two daughters stayed with me for 10 years before they had to come back to India for educational and professional requirements.
When I visited the Bhagtani site for my own enquiry and verification, the project board was put up. I was further re- assured after speaking to existing shop owners and a few residents of the slums around the site as they claimed that they were going to vacate the premises soon, so that construction could start.
The site is very close to where I currently live, close to the Highway, Link road and to the Railway station. During discussions at Jaycee office in Santacruz, I was told that paying 50% of the total amount would earn me a further substantial discount (the rate per square feet area would be reduced). All of these factors positively induced me into booking two 1BHK flats on my daughters’ names, with the hope that it would be my gift to them on their marriages but alas I was cheated!
Their marketing strategy was ferocious - I was told that I had to pay my booking cheque before 12 midnight, failing which the rate would differ the next day and the offer would change (as told to us by Upkar Singh, Ajay and Prashant).
To take advantage of the discount offer I even sold several SIPs to make the payment although I had to sell them reluctantly and not at a good rate. I have paid Bhagtani Rs 44,18,000/- for two 1BHK flats i.e 50% of the total cost.
Because we booked flats, my wife's elder sister, Joyce, heard about our purchase and she also booked three 1BHK flats for her family. Unfortunately they are now caught in the same web of deceit as I and my family, ensnared by these fraud builders. My wife’s sister paid Rs 40,70,766/- for three 1BHK flats i.e. 30% of the total cost.
Unfortunately, believing the dream that Bhagtani sold – we have been robbed and cheated.
When I came to Mumbai in 2014 for my next vacation (2014), I visited both the office and the site and was assured that the delay is genuine and that permissions required for the IOD takes time. I trusted their explanation and held on to it. During my 2015 vacation to Mumbai (I get 50-days vacation each year), 18 months since booking had already elapsed. I once gain went to their office and as usual was asked to deal with their CRM department (Vijit Ghosh). I was told that the IOD is just a month away and that I could go and see the sample flat that has been prepared. When I went to the site, their office (of sorts) was closed and there was no Sample Flat! All I saw was some construction material rubble - I could now see that I had believed A BIG LIE!
Immensely annoyed and angered, I visited the office again and asked for the refund with interest that they had mentioned in our allotment letter. Mr Vijit Ghosh tried his best to sweet talk me into having patience. Having reached the end of the rope, I insisted that I wanted my refund. They finally agreed but on the terms that I surrender my Original Allotment Letter after which they would start paying me back after six months and that to with PDCs in instalments. NOW I WAS CERTAIN THAT SOMETHING WAS FISHY! I demanded that I receive the payment immediately, as per Clause #11 of my Allotment Letter, and asked to meet a higher authority or the builder himself. Miss Khushboo, VP Sales, tried to placate me. After loud and heated arguments (I am a hot tempered person!), I insisted that she gives me in writing her defence for not being able to pay me back my money immediately, something she quoted as “Company Policy”. I told her that what she gives me in writing could then be used by me as a document for Consumer Grievance. Even after hours of discussion (it was late night by the time I decided to leave) she refused to give me anything in writing or to offer any other kind of solution. Since I had to prepare for my daughter’s wedding that was scheduled for the next month, this issue took a back seat.
In 2016, nothing had changed. Of course we would call and enquire from time-to-time but the site still lay empty and we had no new communication from Jaycee/Bhagatni. I visited their office and this time Vijit Ghosh told me that a special person will meet me. The usual con tactics and stunts commenced – they come into the room with multiple box files, showing us proof of consent letters, official documents and so on, trying to convince us that the groundwork is almost done and construction will start soon. They also offered me an exchange/transfer option at their on-going construction project at Goregaon East opposite St. Puis Seminary. I rejected the transfer option as they were offering it to me at the existing market rate, which meant I would have to pay an additional amount. None of this convinced me and I held myself back as somewhere in my mind I was still trusting and hoping that the project would come through.
Over the course of time, with no replies to our emails or phone calls made by me or my wife, my wife visited their office. She was once again humiliated and they tried to cheat her by offering a Credit Note (actually it’s a Cheat note!) and transfer our allotment to another builder in Kandivili West. After this my wife was in constant touch with employees named Kinjal and Tina on phone and recently with Aman Pandey, but it’s clear that they were only stalling and working on their concealing and cheating agenda. Now we were told that the refund wait period, after surrendering the allotment letter, was 24 months and that too without interest. They would start paying us back only after these 24 months.
We refused all such offers and my family were waiting for me to come back on vacation as I had decided to create a major ruckus and public drama if my demands were not met.
About a month back an estate agent, who is a friend of mine, sent me a link to your blog post about Bhagtani Builders and we desperately tried to get in touch with some other Bhagtani Buyers.
Just a few days before my vacation this year my wife got your number from your blog and called you. Additionally, to our good fortune, Dr. Amit Mahajan traced me via some common doctor friends and thus I was added into the what’s app group of Bhagtani Sapphire victims. Only 10 days back, I met Mandhar and Gopakumar. I am following their advice and doing all the needful as part of the group, in hopes of getting back my hard-earned money.
So this is my story.
Written by Dr. John Lawrence Paul
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