Cloud over country’s tallest skyscraper project in Mumbai
Real estate developer Vikas Kasliwal, the erstwhile promoter of Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure, has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde seeking a probe into an alleged ‘scam’ of over ₹1,000 crore involving India’s tallest skyscraper Palais Royale currently under construction at Worli in Mumbai.
Kasliwal’s company started construction of the project in 2007. Its top floor was constructed in 2012, then work stopped as the building got embroiled in a series of public interest litigations leading to project delay and cost overrun and resultant insolvency proceedings.
In a letter written to Shinde, Kasliwal said the process involved in the development of Palais Royale has led to loss of revenue for both Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and the state government
Kasliwal has mentioned that municipal authorities had ‘at supersonic speed’ approved 20 per cent increase in habitable area (leading to addition of 28 apartments) in the building carved out from fire refuge floors and other common use areas, thus financially rewarding a Pune-based developer. The project was awarded to the builder through an auction by a private lender following loan default by Kasliwal’s company.
Setting it right
He also wrote that “based on false and misleading representations,” the municipal authorities had approved takeover of a public parking lot belonging to Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure and waved a huge premium of ₹166 crore due equally to the MCGM and state government.
“On June 2, the MCGM granted Occupation Certificate to the public parking lot in a hugely suspicious and clandestine manner,” he wrote adding that certain fire refuge floors were being converted to residential apartments based on the incentive FSI from the same parking lot, which was constructed by Kasliwal as per a prevailing municipal policy adjacent to the Palais Royale building.
The premium was due because Shree Ram Urban had utilised the FSI made available from the public parking lot in the skyscraper. According to brokers flats in this building are priced at ₹40 crore onwards each in this building, which is 72 floors high spanning 320 meters.
Seeking the CM’s urgent intervention “to set right the illegalities and wrongs done,” he has urged Shinde to appoint a special inquiry committee to look into the wrong doings outlined in the note.