Flats booked in Hyderabad’s Aliens Space Station 1 disappear into thin air?

The project included thirteen 20-storey apartment blocks with 2,000 flats in total
Flats booked in Hyderabad’s Aliens Space Station 1 disappear into thin air?
Flats booked in Hyderabad’s Aliens Space Station 1 disappear into thin air?
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When Alok Kumar Shukla, an IT professional in Hyderabad saw an advertisement for an apartment by construction giant Aliens Group and decided to book a plot in 2005, little did he know what lay ahead.

For the past eight years, a large number of people have been running from pillar to post accusing the senior management of Aliens Group including the managing director Hari Challa of fraud.

Speaking to the media on Saturday under the banner of Aliens Space Station 1 Owners’ Welfare Association, they have sought the Chief Minister’s intervention.

"It was 2005 when the advertisements for pre-booking started flooding every newspaper and TV channel. Some papers had full front page ads and it promised that the construction would be done by 2011," Alok, who is the association’s treasurer tells The News Minute.

The project included thirteen 20-storey apartment blocks with 2,000 flats in total.

One association member told Deccan Chronicle that over 1,000 buyers had paid the construction company as much as Rs 400 crore, with most of them having taken loans from banks to pay for the flats.

"Within two or three years, we started noticing that the progress was very slow and hardly any work was being done," Alok adds.

When 11|11|11 which was the date of inauguration for the flats came, the company had only completed 10% of the project.

"First they said that there were some issues with the land owners from whom they bought the space under construction. They used to conduct meetings individually with each customer and assure them that it would be done soon," says Alok.

However, two years later in 2013, the group claimed a fund crunch and started asking for more money from the buyers. In 2014, it claimed that the Telangana agitation for a separate state stalled all their work.

"A lot of the buyers were also NRIs who used to keep calling from abroad, and each time they were given different excuses. That's when we formed the association, so we could take the company head on," Alok adds.

Over 1,300 owners are said to be affected by the venture. The group has also been accused of selling the same plot to various buyers when the initial buyer refused to pitch in more money.

Following this, members of the association filed complaints with the police against the group accusing its managing director of cheating and intimidation.

The association has also accused the company of embezzlement and adds that crores of rupees was diverted into opening smaller companies under different pretexts.

The first big success for the association came in March this year, when Aliens Group managing director Hari Challa was arrested on these charges. Some customers also called on Telangana home minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy and submitted a representation seeking government intervention into the matter.

However, he got out on bail in two months.

The association members claim that around 160 cases have been registered against the construction group in State Consumer Redressal Forums and 30 in the national counterpart while over 80 cases were registered in police stations.

"Even some owners who cancelled their booking later were not returned their money completely if anything was returned in the first place. As of now, the project is only roughly 15% complete," Alok says.

However, the company denies all allegations and claims that it has already started delivering apartments.

“We had asked for an increase in the price earlier, but now we are not asking for that. We have already handed over apartments to 18 buyers,” Hari Challa told Deccan Chronicle.

The association is now demanding a thorough probe into the incident and is trying to request the transfer of the project to another builder.

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