For 20K Jaypee home buyers no end to suffering even after 12 years

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Noida, April 24

Be it a son who lost both his parents and is still waiting for his flat to be delivered or a daughter who is living with 'deep pain in her heart' as she could not fulfil her late mothers wish to live together in their own home — thousands of Jaypee Infratech Limited (JIL) home buyers in Noida, who are the victims of the mother of all real estate frauds in India, are anxiously waiting for their flats even after more than 12 years.

Stuck in long-drawn legal battles (the home buyers' case is now being heard in the National Company Law Tribunal, or NCLT), the decade-old plight is lingering that left more than 20,000 Jaypee home seekers running from pillar to post, and finally giving up.

In August 2017, the NCLT kicked off insolvency proceedings against the Noida-based realty major.

Five years down the line, the goal to settle the Rs 22,600 crore debt resolution — that had an initial deadline of six months under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — is yet to be realised.

Currently, there are 18,767 active home buyers who have paid a collective principal amount of Rs 8,676 crore.

Nearly 413 home buyers have cancelled their bookings and their refund worth Rs 64 crore is still pending.

About 1,410 buyers have been issued offers of possession valued at Rs 528 crore, but no registration has taken place for those properties to date.

A pall of gloom has enveloped the home buyers as the NCLT is yet to finalise the revival plan and hearings are still on.

Jayashree Swaminathan, a home buyer who saw the entire drama unfold in front of her eyes, feels they may have to wait for another two-three years to get possession of their flats.

"I could not fulfil the wish of my parents, especially my mother, of living together in our own abode. I am still living on rent in Delhi. The whole objective of buying this property is lost for which we paid through our noses. We are extremely, extremely tired of the legal battle," Swaminathan said.

There are some frustrated Jaypee buyers who have stopped paying the EMIs and are just not bothered about the ramifications it will have on their credit history as they just cannot afford to pay both the rent and the EMI.

Several Army officers spent their entire retirement benefits to book flats in Jaypee Wish Town and other properties and are still living in rented premises.

For Sudhir, a working professional who had booked two flats in Jaypee, the decision to secure his retirement as well as taking care of his daughter's education backfired.

"The only solace I can have now is that when the flats get completed, my daughter can decide what to do with them as we have been unable to enjoy the fruits of our hard work," said Sudhir, who is living on rent in one of the sectors in Noida.

On November 6, 2019, the Supreme Court directed the completion of JIL's insolvency process within 90 days, and ordered that the revised resolution plan be invited only from government-owned National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) and Mumbai-based Suraksha Realty.

After a super-lengthy resolution process, Mumbai-based Suraksha realty group got the approval of financial creditors and home buyers to take over the company in June last year.

The matter is now with the NCLT and the hearings on the resolution plan are underway.

Hoping to put her daughter in a nearby law school, Swaminathan booked a 2,100 square feet apartment in Kensington Park Heights — a Jaypee property — in 2009.

Today, her daughter is working and can buy her own flat now. Her dissertation during her post-graduation studies in law was on the Jaypee Infratech case itself.

"Several flat owners are dead and thousands of them have not come forward to get offers of possession. Altogether, more than 20,000 home buyers' lives are on tenterhooks. The current wave of real estate tycoons going bankrupt and the Supreme Court now taking the matter in its hands is a welcome step but for thousands like me, the excruciating wait continues," lamented Swaminathan.


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