Thane: After a prominent builder in Thane killed himself, allegedly as clearances for his projects were held up for years, the real estate industry is asking, "Where's the promised change?"
"In the last couple of years, I think corruption is over but extortion has started. So, I think what was unbearable to the builder was the fact that there was no corruption in that sense of the term, but it had gone far beyond corruption levels that have ever happened," Managing Director of the Hiranandani Group, Niranjan Hiranandani said.
45-year-old Suraj Parmar, who headed the Thane wing of the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) and was the chairman of the Cosmos Group, shot himself dead on Wednesday at a sample flat on his project site in Thane, leaving behind a tell-all suicide note.
Sources say Mr Parmar named six local politicians and bureaucrats who were demanding bribes and holding up clearances for his projects but later scratched them out to avoid trouble for his family.
"We have learned that our brother was harassed by some government officers and politicians. He always believed in rules and used to work in accordance with the rules only," Suraj Parmar's cousin, Uday, told NDTV.
Thane Police officer Gajanand Kabdule told NDTV, "A suicide note has been recovered. The note is handwritten and is 12-15 pages long."
The real estate industry has faced allegations of rampant bribes and illegal clearances. Industry voices say they have no choice other than paying up as the bureaucracy and red tape hold up clearances for years which leads to huge losses and sometimes extreme situations like this one.
Pratap Sarnaik, the local Shiv Sena MLA claims a gang of corporators cutting across party lines regularly extort money from builders. He is now demanding the suicide note be made public.
The industry says this is nothing new and till the time this continues, more such incidents could happen. Their hope, the promise of transparency, single window system and speedy online clearances, something they expect the new regime to implement.