Jain Charitable Trust cheats Blind Flat-buyer in Virar, Mumbai

Mumbai, 19th February, 2017: A Jain “charitable” trust called Vardhman Sanskar Dham (Trust Reg. no. 19790 — Mumbai) sold a flat to a blind man at three times its original price, but now says it only lent it to him. In 2007, Vardhaman Sanskar Dham bought a flat in Nairut building, Rajiv Nagar, Virar, for Rs 4.30 lakh. Four years later, in 2011, the trust sold this flat to a blind man named Mr Jethmal Sonigra for Rs 13.19 lakhs, earning more than three times the amount that it had invested. However, although the first letterhead-receipt of the trust shows that Mr Sonigra had paid for purchase of the flat (565 sq. ft. x Rs 2,600/-), the second letter says that this amount was a “deposit” against which “we have hand over possession for residence purpose”.

This “charitable trust” is trying to say that allowing him to stay in this house was only a “charitable act” towards a blind man, and the money that he paid them — three times the price of the flat — was only a “deposit”!

Jethimal Sonigra and his daughter Pravina.

At first Sonigra ignored the wordings of that letter, and trusted whatever assurances they gave him. For over four years, Sonigra kept pursuing the trustees to make a sale deed and register it, and the trustees kept dragging their feet and blaming one another for the delays. The blind man interacted with Mr Yogesh M Shah (chief trustee), Mr Jyotish N Kuwadia (trustee), Mr Bharat Sakaria (trustee), and Dineshbhai (retired trustee), who all kept passing the buck at one another.

In October 2016, Sonigra finally decided that enough was enough, and he sent the trust a formal letter through a lawyer requesting them to register a sale agreement. The trustees didn’t reply in writing, but they started telling him that they would make a Leave-and-Licence agreement, but a sale agreement!

Then Sonigra submitted a written complaint to Arnala police station. Surprisingly, PSI Govle told him, after perusing the documents and speaking to CA Chetan Bal and other trustees, that he should be grateful to Vardhman Sanskar Dham and its charitable-minded trustees!

Read these documents and understand the facts of the case:

  1. 2007 — Registered Flat-Purchase Agreement between builder and Trust.
  2. 2011 — Letter of sale given to Sonigra on Trust letterhead.
  3. 2012 — Trust letter stating that it was giving the blind Jain (Sadharamik) man “possession” against a “deposit” because he required “accommodation”.
  4. Oct 2016 — Lawyer’s letter to the Trust asking them to register Sale Agreement.
  5. December 2016 — Sonigra’s police complaint to Arnala Police Station

Vardhaman Sanskar Dham Trust has at least 10 flats in Nairut building alone, and 30 or more flats in surround areas in Virar. Some flats are held in the names of trustees. A few flats are occupied by “charitable” occupants like Jethmal Sonigra, and one wonders about their plight.

How many more followers of Jainism has Vardhman Sanskar Dham exploited? Is this their regular modus operandi?

This article was written with research by Sulaiman Bhimani (9323642081).

Krishnaraj Rao

1) Read the emailed rebuttal of Vardhaman Sanskar Trust.

2) Read specific questions which the trustees declined to answer.