The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on August 12 said it issued a Provisional Attachment Order under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 attaching immovable assets worth Rs 300.4 crore against Mantri Group for cheating home buyers of Mantri Serenity, Mantri Web City, and Mantri Energia residential projects.
ED said money from homebuyers has been misappropriated to the tune of Rs 300.4 crore for uses other than project construction.
According to ED, the developer tricked home buyers with rosy-colored plans, deceptive brochures, fabricated delivery dates, and window dressing. However, despite receiving deposits from potential house purchasers for seven to 10 years, the flats have still not been delivered.
Based on an FIR filed by the Subramanyapura Police Station in Bangalore under various IPC sections, an investigation was launched under the terms of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
ED said the Cubbon Park Police Station in Bangalore has received numerous FIRs filed by homebuyers accusing Mantri Developers Private Limited, its subsidiaries, directors, and promoters of defrauding the public by attracting customers with false promises.
Previously, on June 25, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said it had arrested Sushil P Mantri, director of Bengaluru-based Mantri Developers.
ED added that a further investigation had revealed that Mantri Developers Private Limited and its subsidiaries had committed a criminal breach of trust by using house buyers' funds for unrelated projects.
Homebuyers welcome the move
Dhananjaya Padmanabhachar, co-founder and principal secretary of Mantri Serenity Home Buyers Forum said, "Enforcement Directorate has done a good job by attaching Immovable property of Mantri Developers. ED need to ensure the home buyers are getting their home and the proportionate land share in their respective Projects. We request ED to investigate landowners' involvement in the money laundering case."
Sai Pramod, a software engineer bought an apartment at Mantri Webcity in 2014. After the promised delivery date in 2016 when he still did not get the apartment, in 2019 Pramod and around nine other homebuyers filed an FIR at Cubbon Park Police Station levelling criminal charges against the builder.
He added, "KRERA passed an order for me and asked the builder to return the money, however, to date that is still pending. Pramod is currently preparing to file a case at the Karnataka High Court, later this month.
Another homebuyer, Sudhakar Lakshman said, “We are very aggrieved to learn of this situation. With this ED order, it seems the seeds of doubt have been confirmed that our monetary losses are stuck for the long haul. Keen to know how the attachment of Rs 300 crore assets pave a way for starting our stalled project. This news has made us even more anxious as middle-class home buyers always have to bear the brunt of such misdeeds.”