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Bombay High Court summons real-estate baron Sunil Mantri in Rs 300-crore cheating case

MUMBAI: There are more than 50 cases against the chairman and managing director of Mantri Realty before the HC, and the court has asked him to appear before it in person on Tuesday. After Sunil Mantri allegedly cheated investors, home-buyers and borrowers to the tune of over Rs 300 crore, the HC has also called for the appointment of an official liquidator to take symbolic possession of Mantri Realty-owned assets. He will also be not able to dispose of any fixed asset of his company without the court’s permission.

Sunil Mantri

One of the cases was filed by Ashok Commercial Enterprises. The company has filed a Rs 71-crore cheating case against him. It had loaned this amount to Mantri Realty at an interest rate of 24%. When it sought the money back, Mantri failed to pay up. When Ashok Commercial filed a case, Mantri issued a cheque, which bounced twice. The complaint was filed a few months ago at the Malabar Hill police station. The police have since transferred the case to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW).

Mantri is also the president of the National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), an umbrella body of developers.

The 50 cases have been clubbed under Section 1001 of the Companies Act in the HC, and hearing on the cases is set to take place before a bench headed by justice K R Shriram on Tuesday. Advocate Anil Agarwal, one of the victims, claimed that Mantri had borrowed money from him with a promise that it will be returned with 22-36% interest rate.

“We tried to contact Mr Mantri on several occasions, but he is no reachable. He has also changed his contact number. His staffers are not answering calls,” he said.

“Mantri has a big office in Marine Drive, which is virtually deserted. It seems he has shifted to a different location. We do not know where to contact him. The court is our last hope,” said Agarwal.

Agarwal said that when investors and buyers ask their money back, Mantri would offer them properties in other states as compensation.

“If I am a resident of Mumbai, why should I buy property in Madhya Pradesh or somewhere else? We are feeling cheated by this so-called big brand. Mr Mantri is the chairman of NAREDCO, which is affiliated to the Central government’s urban development department. He has been misusing his position to deceive gullible investors and buyers. We demand a probe into his transactions and confiscation of properties,” Agarwal said.

On Sunday evening, dna spoke to Mantri. “The matter is sub judice. There were some technical issues, which resulted in the delay. However, we will be paying back all investors and borrowers,” he said.