Deutsche Bank MD’s Rs. 9 cr down the drain

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Islam 1A faulty commode has been flooding Syed Zafar Islam’s palatial new home at Dadar’s Island City Centre with sewage, twice forcing him to put off his move and leaving him with an ever-increasing repair bill. When you spend a mini fortune on a new apartment, the last thing you expect is to come home to an open sewer. That, however, is exactly what happened to Syed Zafar Islam, the 42-year-old managing director of Deutsche Bank Capital Markets & Treasury Solutions Group.

Islam’s fifth-floor flat at Island City Centre, a plush housing complex in Dadar, has been flooded with sewage thanks to a plumbling problem in one of the bathrooms, forcing him to twice put off shifting into it and all the while increasing the cost of repairing the palatial flat. Ever since the problem first surfaced early last month, Islam has been pursuing the matter with Bombay Realty, Bombay Dyeing’s real-estate arm, but has been hugely disappointed. “Bombay Realty has completely ignored me.

They are neither addressing the problem nor responding to my reminders,” Islam told Mumbai Mirror. Zafar and his banker wife bought the flat in 2006, as it was touted as the definitive residential project in central Mumbai, with top-of-the-line facilities, furnishing and fittings. The 2,200-square-foot, three-BHK apartment was to be ready by 2008, but Bombay Realty finally gave them possession in 2011.

While Islam was not keen to disclose the price at which he bought the flat, industry sources said apartments in the complex sell for close to Rs 9 crore. A Pali Hill resident, Islam felt that staying in central Mumbai would provide more opportunities to his young daughter. “The 40-storey Springs project at Island City Centre was the first major venture of Bombay Realty. We were confident that the Wadias would provide us with the best faciltiies since even they had a house in the building,” Islam said.

In late 2012, Islam decided to move to Island City Centre and hired an interior designer, who was to complete his work by April 2013. “On March 12, my contractor first reported that there was a reverse flow of sewage from one of the commodes, which soiled the bathroom and living space. The matter was immediately reported to Bombay Realty,” Islam said.

Bombay Realty sent expert plumbers to his house and found that the commode’s plumbing was not in place. They removed the commode seat, put a cap on the sewerage line and told the workers that it was under observation. In the subsequent days, Syed Zafar sent several mails to Bombay Realty to get the commode seat re-fixed, but got no response. “Today (April 1), my contractor called up and told me that the bathroom was flooded again by the reverse flow of sewage. I have started to lose patience now,” Islam said, adding that the way a reputed company like Bombay Realty was addressing problems was infuriating.

Islam 2Facilities at Island City Centre are being managed by a private company on behalf of Bombay Realty. Islam said that the firm claimed it had submitted a proposal to repair the sewage line to Bombay Realty, but had not got its approval yet. While communicating with Bombay Realty, Islam also learnt that other flats in the building were facing similar problems. “Right now there is just 30 to 40 per cent occupancy in the project, so the true extent of the problem is still not known,” he said. After having spent close to Rs 65 lakh on interiors, and expecting to spend more on repairs and refurnishing, Islam said he does not mind hiring a private firm to get the problem sorted out, but says Bombay Realty does not allow this.

“Bombay Realty does not allow outside intervention. Even when my apartment was being built, they did not let us have a look till it was totally complete. This is quite strange,” he said. Islam said he hoped Bombay Realty would rectify the problem as quickly as possible, or else he would be left with no choice but to go to court. Advocate Zulfiquar Memon of MZM Legal, who are representing Islam, said, “It is unfortunate that a company of this magnitude could be so reckless in their approach. We are contemplating legal action if the issues are not resolved amicably.”

Islam 3Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Bombay Realty said, “Today at 11 am the maintenance team received a call and were told that the incident had re-occurred. The team rushed to the apartment and found that the blockage in the line was again the prime suspect. The complainant also came to the site and was explained the reason for such occurrences. We immediately got access to the line in the apartment below. We broke the main line and, as suspected, found it was blocked with various materials. This is because debris was thrown into the drainage pipe from various apartments above. We are now sending a circular to all to have a better waste disposal practices, and will continue to educate all contractors to avoid disposal of construction material in the line.”

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