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Real estate developer close to AAP minister in Punjab cheats home buyers but police fail to take action

Amritsar real estate developer Sarbjit Singh Gumtala with AAP government’s Local Bodies Minister Aman Arora in a photo on the realtor’s Facebook page.

The Punjab police is dragging its feet over registering a criminal case against Sarbjit Singh Gumtala the developer of the Swiss City colony in Amritsar despite a complaint from the Municipal Corporation that he has cheated home buyers and violated the terms and conditions of the license issued to him.

Gumtala claims to be a close confidant of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leadership including local bodies minister Aman Arora, and has posted pictures with the minister on his Facebook page.

The home buyers in the colony complained to the Municipal Corporation that the Swiss City Developers and Colonisers, Pvt Ltd, headed by Gumtala was not providing proper metalled roads, drinking water, sewerage lines, street lighting, and electricity lines as promised. They had also failed to open a school and a hospital in the colony which violated the terms and conditions of the license granted to them to develop the residential colony.

Sarbjit Singh Gumtala, was given a license in 2006 by Punjab Urban Development Authority to develop agricultural land as a residential colony named ‘Swiss City’ spread over 9.42 acres on Ram Tirath Road, Amritsar.

Since the developer did not fulfil all the conditions required under the urban development law, the Municipal Corporation refused to take over the colony and asked the developer to comply with the terms and conditions as laid down under the Punjab Urban Development Act and the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act.

As the developer did not get his license and bank guarantees renewed in time apart from ignoring the communications from Municipal Corporation, the Commissioner on April 18 and July 27 this year asked the police to register a criminal case against defaulter Gumtala and his associates for violation of urban development laws. But the matter rests there since then for reasons best known to the police.

SSP (Rural) Swapan Sharma refused to respond on the issue. However, the incharge of Kambo police station,

ASI Ravinder Singh Gill, to whom the letters of the MC Commissioner were sent for action said, “you can ask the complainant (in this case an IAS officer) to come and meet me in my office to discuss the matter.”

For the last three days, indianarrative.com tried to reach the Local Bodies Minister Aman Arora through WhatsApp messages and phone calls but he did not respond.

His personal assistant Harman Singh took a call on Wednesday and said he would get a comment from the minister on the issue but his eventually could not deliver on his promise. The photograph showing Gumtala standing with the local bodies minister was also sent seeking comments but.

The developer, Gumtala has also carved out two illegal colonies on agricultural land named Swiss Land, spread over about 14 acres, and Swiss Green covering about 4 acres adjoining Swiss City. Surprisingly, no government official objected to the coming up of illegal colonies for over 16 years allowing him to carry on with his illegal activity. Even at present, he was continuing with the sale of plots.

There is a loss of revenue to the state as the fee for change in land use (CLU) for converting agricultural land into residential, has not been paid. Besides, no approval for the site plan has been taken.

The agitated residents of Swiss City say, “we made huge investments in this colony as it was approved by PUDA, but we now feel cheated. Over a long period of 17 years, there is no proper lighting, roads are broken and the sewerage is choked.”

Gumtala, who is at present on a tour to Canada, was on Tuesday contacted on phone. He asked this reporter to wait for fifteen days till he returned to India after which, “I will personally meet you” he said.

Later, Gumtala sent a message asking this reporter to talk to Ajit Singh, MD of the company for a response on the issues raised. However, Ajit Singh refused to say anything. “Gumtala is the right person to answer your questions,” he said.