2012 land dispute with Ansal: SC stays criminal proceedings against Dalmia | The Financial Express

2012 land dispute with Ansal: SC stays criminal proceedings against Dalmia

Though Ansals defaulted in making the payments, it resorted to initiating the instant “malafide” criminal proceedings against Dalmias in order to arm twist the petitioners as a counter move, Landmark said.

2012 land dispute with Ansal: SC stays criminal proceedings against Dalmia
Supreme Court (File Image)

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed criminal proceedings initiated by Delhi-based Ansal Group against Dalmia group in a 2012 land dispute case.

A Bench led by Justice Indira Banerjee, while issuing notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, also stayed further proceedings in a criminal case before the Court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, (senior division), Meerut district court, Uttar Pradesh.

Challenging the July 26 order of the Allahabad High Court that refused to quash the FIR registered under Sections 420, 406 and 120B of IPC, the Dalmia group argued that the FIR was filed at the behest of FN Rai, the authorised representative of Ansals, as an afterthought without any explanation for the inordinate delay of seven years from the alleged commission of the offence. Further, the FIR is a mere counter move against the September 2018 arbitral award entitling petitioners to receive `259 crore including interest from Ansals.

The FIR was lodged to pressurise Dalmias to settle the disputes in relation to the payment of the arbitral award and is a complete abuse of judicial process, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi and counsel Ruby Singh Ahuja, appearing for Dalmias, argued.

“Under no circumstances can any criminality be ascribed to a commercial dispute. When a case is purely civil in nature, the complainant cannot be allowed to misuse the criminal process to put pressure upon another person. Furthermore, the allegations of the complainant fail to satisfy the essential ingredients of the offence of cheating and criminal breach of trust, qua Dalmias,” they argued.

Senior counsel Shyam Divan and Basant R appeared on behalf of Ansals.

While thorough investigation was carried out twice and closure reports were filed due to lack of any merit in the allegations, the trial court had issued non-bailable warrants and also summoned Dalmias to face criminal trial, the Dalmia group stated in their appeals. Despite the jurisdiction being decided as New Delhi, the trial judge took cognizance of the criminal case on the false ground that the agreement was entered into between the parties at Meerut, it added.

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According to the appeals, Dalmia firm Landmark Property Development Company and Ansals had entered into a JV agreement in 2004 for the purposes of undertaking real estate business, whereby Gaurav Dalmia and some other family members cumulatively held 50% shares. The two parties had agreed to develop three townships in north India across two states but the Dalmias later decided to exit the partnership in 2011 and a Share Purchase Agreement was executed in New Delhi on June 29, 2012. As per the agreement, the Ansals had agreed to pay the Dalmias `99 crore for the latter’s economic interest in the 50:50 joint venture. Since Ansals defaulted in making the payments, Dalmias had invoked arbitration proceedings and had won an arbitration award of `167 crore against Ansal API Group in October 2018. The Dalmias had then approached the Delhi High Court for enforcement of the arbitration award. The HC had in April 2019 directed Ansals to deposit principal amount of `46.01 crore.

Though Ansals defaulted in making the payments, it resorted to initiating the instant “malafide” criminal proceedings against Dalmias in order to arm twist the petitioners as a counter move, Landmark said.

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