Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 25:
Harassed and cheated by a builder for years, an elderly couple in the Odisha capital has lodged an FIR against him with the Laxmisagar police station charging him with fraud, issuing threats and causing huge financial losses to them.
Although the Laxmisagar police accepted the FIR against the builder on November 18, no action was taken against the accused so far, thanks to his ‘special rapport’ with a senior police officer.
The couple then chose to draw the attention of the twin city police commissioner Dr RP Sharma on Sunday. Dr Sharma reportedly assured them of quick action.
According to reports, Pravakar Mishra and Bibhabati Mishra, who own a plot measuring 0.396 acre in Laxmisagar area, had given the general power of attorney to one Suvendu Kumar Das, proprietor of Shree Laxmi Estate and Construction in December 2008 to develop the plot and build an apartment. The builder had then given them an assurance that the project would be completed within two years and also that they would get eight flats as the owner of the land.
“The builder told us that the apartment would be one of its kind in Bhubaneswar and managed to persuade us to hand over all documents and papers relating to the plot. Once he got hold of the documents, he was a changed person. He went on killing time under one pretext or the other and made unnecessary delay in getting approval for the project, ” said Biswajit Mishra, son of the plot owner.
Biswajit said the builder, who has a ‘special rapport’ with some senior police officials, lodged some false cases blaming the plot owner for non-cooperation and tried to justify the inordinate delay in construction work.
After persistent demands for early completion of the project, the builder Suvendu Das entered into a fresh agreement with the Mishras in 2013 wherein he assured to handover eight furnished flats within two months from the date of execution of the agreement failing which he would pay penalty as per the prevailing market rate to the land owners till the flats were finally handed over.
” We soon realised the builder had taken us for a ride. Neither the flats nor the penalty was given to us. He had given us a cheque for Rs 2 lakh on 25 January this year but when we wanted to encash it, the bank informed us that builder had asked for ‘stop payment’. This is pure cheating,” said Biswajit, adding it was mental agony that led to his father, Pravakar Mishra suffering a near fatal brain stroke that has left him paralysed for life.
” He has been using our land to his benefit and has already sold most of the poorly constructed flats without basic amenities and furnishing, thus minting money at our cost. We have incurred a financial loss of Rs 57 lakh so far and he is yet to hand over the promised flats to us. On the contrary, he has been issuing threats and filing false cases against us,” he said.
Sources said the builder has been changing his firm’s name with each new project to evade taxes and legal complications. Some senior police officials have been offering him protection and that explains why he was not taken to task even after four workers were seriously injured in a roof collapse in one of his projects in Pandara in 2013.
” We want justice and our rightful share. After the police commissioner’s assurances, the least that we expect is that the builder will be booked for fraud, causing financial losses to the tune of Rs 57 lakh and issuing threats to us,” Biswajit Mishra said.