Apartment owners were aware of CRZ litigation, says H2O builder


Affidavit filed in Supreme Court to declare flat owners were co-promoters of project

The apartment owners of H2O Holy Faith, which was demolished last year for Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rule violations, had prior knowledge about the legal issues involved and voluntarily chose to be part of the project, according to the builder.

The builder has filed an affidavit to this effect in the Supreme Court to declare that the apartment owners were the co-promoters of the project and hence not entitled to any further compensation from the builder. The apartment owners, who chose not to disclose the crucial aspect before the Supreme Court, however, never denied the assertion made by the builder before the apex court, the builder submitted.

The stand of the builder goes against the contention of most of the apartment owners that they were innocent buyers who were inadvertently caught in the legal battle.

The builder submitted that the apartment owners were aware of the litigation, right from the stage of the local body issuing show-cause notice for CRZ violations. All the records regarding the litigations were made available for the perusal of the owners. The documents were also made available for the first meeting of the association of flat owners held on July 27, 2014, he contended. He also offered to produce e-mails, and minutes of various meetings to prove his point. The flat owners were never kept in the dark and they were fully aware of the pending litigations. โ€œMore evidence including voice messages substantiating this aspect can be produced,โ€ he submitted.

Of the 91 apartment owners, 20 had made investments before the building permit was issued and hence they were the co-landowners and promoters. The apartment owners were also co-developers considering the nature of the transaction undertaken by the applicant with them, he argued.

However, Beyoj Chennat, the treasurer of the ownersโ€™ association, said the majority of the apartment owners were unaware of the legal issues involving the apartment. It was only after media reports emerged that most of the owners became aware about the issue. The builder was raising the argument to escape from the liability of paying compensation, added Mr. Chennat.

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