• Counterparty threatening after cancellation of the sale contract

Background - 

I stay in Hong Kong and my mother is a 58 year old widow leaving by her own in Kolkata. She had a flat in Noida.  In May 2014, she singed a pre-sale agreement with a counterparty and received an advance amount of 2 lakh rupees. The counterpary was a relative of the broker overlooking the transaction. Later, however, they did not purchase the property citing the reason that they were unable to get a loan. They requested us to give back the advanced amount but we had refused it back then because it was written in the pre-sale agreement that they would loose the advance if the deal doesn't go through in the stipulated time (til 30th September 2014, approx 4.5 months). 

Last year, in may 2015 when she was in the process of selling the flat to another counterpary, they approached her on humanitarian grounds saying that one of them had lost their job and they are in dire need of money. Out of sympathy, my mother agreed to return 1 lakh (half) once she finishes all the pending task with respect to the sale and the putting the proceeds the of the sale in a bank. 

In the meantime, the broker was trying to act smart by not providing us with the full set of papers regarding the sale of the flat --- he was saying it was not customary for the seller to have all the papers. So, we refused to pay the 1 lakh till the broker (who wsa their relative) delivers the papers in full. Last November, the broker finally succumbed and sent us the paper in full. As promised, in response, we transferred the 1 lakh rupees to them by the end of December. We have the acknowledged the receipt in writing on email.

Problem: 

On friday (19th Feb 2016), the counterparty has now sent my mother a email saying that he has a friend in Noida police, a lawyer friend and a police friend in kolkata. He says that he has promised his friends that  he will donate 50 thousand to a "NGO" run by his friends, if they can retrieve the remaining 1 lakh. Further, he says that even if he is unable to get the money back legally he will see to it that my mother is never able to leave India (i.e, visit me in hong kong). 


Questions- 

Given my mother's age and state (58y old widow with arthiritis in both legs), I feel a bit concered with these questions - 

1. In worst case, what can they do - I want to understand if my mother can face any form of harassment, given that he cites lawyer and police friends? I have the pre-sale agreement + the email acknowledgement of the 1 lakh rupees we gave them back.

2. My mother is a pacifist by nature, so she is very scared of law suits and police cases - is there anything I can do to pre-empt any such thing.

3. My father-in-law as well as my mother feel that we should not respond to the email as it would only mean that we are reacting and scared. Would you advice otherwise ? 

Thanks
Asked 9 months ago in Property Law from Hong Kong
Religion: Hindu
Hi, he can't do anything in legal, he has sent a email to you in order to harass your mother.

2. Nothing will happen, if he continue to sent an email then it is better lodge a police complaint against him.
Pradeep Bharathipura
Advocate, Bangalore
4104 Answers
133 Consultations
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Hi, keep the email to your mother safe. Ignore the mail for now. If there is a second mail or a phone call, just let us know,. The suggestion then would be filing a FIR or orally informing to  Noida police to take proper(really proper in police parlance) care. Ask ur mother to be relaxed. No worries.
Rajgopalan Sripathi
Advocate, Hyderabad
869 Answers
43 Consultations
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) your mother should send polite reply expressing her inability to refund balance  amount of Rs 1lakh 

2) draw attention to terms  of agreement signed by you wherein it was categorically mentioned that in event of failure to make balance payment within stipulated period advance amount would be forfeited 

3) broker can file false case of cheating against your mother for having refused to return the advance amount 

4) in case police call your mother to record her statement she should produce agreement signed by the complainant with your mother wherein it is mentioned that advance would be forfeited if he fails to make payment on time 
Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
23119 Answers
1214 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
1. This is a hollow threat by this man. There is nothing he can do except to file a lawsuit for recovery of money against her, which can succeed in only if he can prove that your mother is under a duty to refund the advance paid to her. If there is a forfeiture clause in the agreement then it would apply with full vigour against the prospective buyer. Having a battery lawyers or cops as friends does not oust the law of the land.

2. Tell your mother to relax. If he files a lawsuit the court would issue her summons to afford her an opportunity to contest the case. 

3. Instead of responding to the email you should issue a lawyer's notice to this man asking him to mend his ways.
Ashish Davessar
Advocate, Jaipur
18057 Answers
445 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
1. Worst case, the other party might issue a legal notice and threaten to file a suit for specific performance of the sale agreement. This is because you still have not terminated the sale agreement after the due date, this must be done with due intimation that 1 lakh rupees also has been returned on sympathetic grounds.
2. Since your mother is the owner of the property at present, anything related to the property only she can do. However if she were to give you a GPA in respect of the property you can take up further communications or decisions in respect of the said property, which would include defending any kind of civil suits, criminal cases etc., on her behalf.
3. If the other party is sending threat mails to your mother and you feel for her well being and safety, then take the GPA from her and lodge a formal complaint against this other party with the commissioner of police, Kolkatta, stating very clearly that you perceive a threat to your mother from this person and his associates and seek for police protection. 
Reply back to the e-mail on her behalf stating that you will take legal recourse if he does not back down once and for all. Inform him that any further mails or phone calls in respect of the property must be done only with you, and even by mistake if the other party were to call or mail your mother in this regard you will not hesitate to lodge criminal complaint/s against him and his associates. 
Kiran N. Murthy
Advocate, Bangalore
765 Answers
50 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
Earnest money cannot be taken back if it is mentioned in agreement. You should not respond any of his mail but be in touch a lawyer if he files any case like recovery of money suit etc. because if he files any suit you have to take injunction oeder immediately. 
Shivendra Pratap Singh
Advocate, Lucknow
2729 Answers
41 Consultations
4.9 on 5.0
1. In worst case, what can they do - I want to understand if my mother can face any form of harassment, given that he cites lawyer and police friends? I have the pre-sale agreement + the email acknowledgement of the 1 lakh rupees we gave them back.
The forfeiture clause is usual in all the sale agreements entered between vendor and buyer, it cannot be strictly implemented in law. In fact forfeiting entire advance amount is illegal, some percentage of advance amount may stand forfeited, however since you people have committed to the clause of the sale agreement, and are stubborn to not to return the balance amount of sale agreement, you may ask them to approach court where you can make your stand clear including that of returning 1 lakhs amount.  However do not budge to the threatening tactics adopted by them.
If they keep threatening your mother in the name of police and lawyer, you may lodge a complaint with the local police about this.




2. My mother is a pacifist by nature, so she is very scared of law suits and police cases - is there anything I can do to pre-empt any such thing.
Dont worry about the law sit, it is another routine issue these days.




3. My father-in-law as well as my mother feel that we should not respond to the email as it would only mean that we are reacting and scared. Would you advice otherwise 
Your parents in law are absolutely right, do not ever respond to the emails or to their pressure tactics, let them approach police/court, you can challenge it.
T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
13934 Answers
127 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
1. Hope, your mother has taken in writing from the person whom she returned Rs.1 Lakh stating that the said money is towards refund of the advance paid and he has no further claim. However, you need not worry for any legal problem at all. As regards illegal harassment, she should file a complaint immediately complaining about the threats given to her. The said complaint can be sent by speed post to the local police station under copy to local S.P./D.C.,

2. She should be convinced that she should not be averse to law suits since aggrieved person approaches Court seeking legal remedies and praying for reliefs. You shall have to prepare yourself for filing law suit/complaint or to contest the same legally. Immediate police complaint as advised above is part of the said advance preparation,

3. The copy of the said email is required to be perused to decide whether it merits any reply or whether it requires reply through a lawyer.  
Krishna Kishore Ganguly
Advocate, Kolkata
12043 Answers
228 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0

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