THE DRUM OF WORMS OPENS WITH BUILDER SURAJ PARMAR’S SUICIDE

In his suicide note, Parmar had blamed extortion attempts by six politicians as one of the reasons for committing suicide.
In his suicide note, Parmar had blamed extortion attempts by six politicians as one of the reasons for committing suicide.
Police investigations revealed the shadow of suspicion extended to state government departments, charged with clearing building projects. The monthly payment to babus was reportedly in the range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 5 lakh.
From the EC Desk

Ever since the shocking suicide of Suraj Parmar, a noted builder in Mumbai owing to depression over extortion demands and bureaucratic hassles, the industry has been shaken up.
In his suicide note, Parmar blamed high demands for ‘under the table money’ and delays in the sanctions of building plans for his projects by municipal and government officials—that forced him to take this extreme step.
Parmar, a leading Thane-based builder, had shot himself in the first week of October. His suicide note revealed that a nexus of corporators and officials was harassing him for bribes.
The Thane police had registered a case of abetment to suicide and for offences of criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act after a notebook left by Parmar in his car revealed their names as the ones who had purportedly harassed him.
That such a well-known builder could be forced to take the extreme step by hanging himself by a rope in his house could not be believed by people.
When the matter was set for hearing in the court, public prosecutor Raja Thakre said the petitioners were not cooperating with the police and that their mobile phones were found switched off. Besides, their names were found in the builder’s note, he told the press.
Parmar was sinking under the debt burden for the loans he had taken from banks at a high rate of interest. Like many other builders who see the familiar roundelay of delayed permissions and holding up of projects owing to variety of reasons, land problems, encroachments rivals claims of builders on the same land, bureaucratic torture and so on, Parmar could no longer cope with the tension. Despite being affluent and happy money-wise, he was simply empty of peace of mind, the soul of a truly satisfactory life.
The unholy symbiotic relationship between builders and politicians, bracketed together by the same greed for wealth, is common knowledge among the people. But the sheer scale of corruptions from the lowliest to the highest, was not available to the public in such graphic detail.
Under increasing pressure from corrupt bureaucrats, councilors and politicians, a bunch of builders took a delegation to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, complaining about the problems faced by the builders’ community. The CM promised to look into their grievances.
The four corporators whose names were in Parmar’s diary, surrendered to the police in the first week of December after a lot of public and political pressure.
In another hearing, the court was informed that “ In addition to the money trail and cash doles to the political fraternity, the police are probing whether the civic officials who would tip off the corporators of project reports and lacunae in construction plans of the Cosmos Group, following which the elected representatives raised a stink at civic meetings and demanded money to be silenced.”
Police sources revealed to the press that transactions between Parmar and some politicians were purportedly worth over Rs 10 crore. Their names were found mentiuoned in a secret diary seized by the police.
Police investigations revealed the shadow of suspicion extended to state government departments, charged with clearing building projects. The monthly payment to babus was reportedly in the range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 5 lakh.
It is suspected that Parmar bribed the water supply department, sewage department and fire brigade department for no-objection certificates, as well as the tree authority to cut trees affecting his projects. For labour-related issues, he purportedly passed on money to the labour department.
To pave the way for controversial constructions, Parmar wrote in his diary about bribes to the urban development department, MHADA, to clear several construction proposals, and also the town planning department.
In a related development, it was found that liquidity crunch in the realty market had hit developers badly in Mumbai. As a result, developers had become defaulters; they were unable to pay back banks and investors. This had affected the process of development and many projects were being delayed.
Sunil Mantri, Mantri Group Chairman and president of Naredco—a body of developers—said that the property market is going through a rough patch. He revealed “I am a victim of this current situation. I have had some difficulties in paying because of the market. In fact, as per my account, over Rs 400 crore excess amount is likely to come into my account. I am committed to resolve the dispute and pay the legitimate investors and borrowers,” he said.
Another developer said that they had raised funds in the hope of a good sale. “In the last two years, property sales have dwindled and that has thrown our calculations haywire. The investors are no more buying flats in bulk but they are giving us money at high rates of interest ranging between 22 percent to 32 per cent. If there is no sale, then that makes it difficult for us to pay back the amount. Therefore, most of the big names are shown in the defaulter’s lists of banks, investors, and borrowers.”
A K Singh from Nagrik Welfare Trust, an NGO, said that politicians are making developers commit mistakes so that they can pocket the money easily. He added that one of the local MLAs from Mira-Bhayander had purportedly demanded Rs one crore from a builder. “That developer wrote a complaint but the police are not ready to register it. Because of this nexus, illegal buildings are mushrooming in our area. This malpractice has to be stopped. Buyers, who are gullible, should not be cheated,” he said emphatically.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail