The group’s, Lodha Aristo, project is a 29-storey residential tower, with one four-BHK ‘villa’ flat on each floor.
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has issued a notice to BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha in a contempt petition that alleges failure to inform flat purchasers at one of the group’s super luxury housing project in Thane through a letter that the land is under a legal dispute.
Justice Rekha Sondurbaldota had issued a notice in April 2016 asking Lodha as to why contempt action should not be issued against him for “prima facie” violating a consent agreement filed before the court in the matter. Lodha, challenged the order in the Supreme Court, which declined to interfere in the proceedings. An HC bench headed by Justice Nitin Jamdar recently issued fresh notice to Lodha’s new address in Mahalaxmi and has scheduled the matter for hearing on August 12.
The group’s, Lodha Aristo, project is a 29-storey residential tower, with one four-BHK ‘villa’ flat on each floor. There are 27 villas in the project, for which construction commenced in 2010. There is a ground-plus-two storey commercial structure on the adjacent plot. A suit filed by Hemant Nandgaonkar and his family members had claimed rights over a portion of the plot that was sold by his kin to Lodha. In 2012, consent terms was filed between Nandgoankar and Lodha during the pendency of the suit. According to the terms, Lodha had to mention in the sale agreements that the purchaser of the flat and unit were aware that the sale of the premises was subject to the court’s final order in the suit. Lodha had to also inform the purchasers in a letter of this clause that the flat purchasers were bound by the final order of the court and obtain their signatures.
Nandgoankar, through his lawyer Rahul Singh, filed the contempt petition, claiming that the condition that flat purchasers would be informed through a letter about the suit was not done and was violation of the orders. In an affidavit, Lodha stated that the clause was mentioned in the sale agreement and the group was filing periodic reports before the court. Senior advocate Janak Dwarakadas, counsel for Lodha, in the April hearing said that the consent order terms were complied with and pointed to the signed applications by the flat purchasers, which had a clause with regard to the pending suit.
The HC, however, said that the application seemed to be a mini-agreement and could not be treated as a letter to the flat purchaser. “The purpose of this is obviously to focus the attention of the proposed flat purchaser to the litigation between the parties. That purpose would not be served by the application form provided by (Lodha) for purchasing flat or premises in the construction undertaken by him,” said Justice Sondurbaldota, adding, “Therefore, in my opinion, on a prima facie view of the matter, (Lodha) is seen to have violated the consent order dated July 6, 2012. Hence, notice be issued calling upon him to show cause as to why action for contempt be not taken against him for non-compliance with clause-(c) of the consent order.” In its May order, the SC said that observations made in the April order would not influence the final decision in the contempt petition.