Amrapali case: SC orders attachment of accounts, properties

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New Delhi | Published: August 2, 2018 3:23:22 AM

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the attachment of all bank accounts and movable properties of 40 companies of the real estate group.

Amrapali case: SC orders attachment of accounts, properties

Coming down heavily on the Amrapali group for “defrauding investors” and playing “dirty games”, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the attachment of all bank accounts and movable properties of 40 companies of the real estate group.

It froze all the bank account of all directors of the 40 companies and also restrained them from selling their personal properties without the permission of the court.

Taking serious note of diversion of funds by the group, a bench led by justice Arun Mishra called for details of all group companies, their bank accounts, names of auditors who handled these 40 companies and their assets since 2008 by Thursday.

It asked CMD Anil Kumar Sharma to be present in the court to furnish the details.

Questioning NBCC’s offer to complete the embattled company’s projects during the pendency of the appeal, the apex court asked its chairman to be personally present before it on Thursday to explain its stand on the issue.

Observing that the “unfair” move by NBCC was apparently to “scuttle” its order, the judges questioned as to how NBCC could issue such advertisement without its approval, referring to the advertisement that said it would take over the unfinished projects of Amrapali. “This is not the way. It is sheer contempt of court. It is not fair. Totally unfair things are going on,” the bench said, adding, “Are they a law to themselves? When we are seized of the matter then propriety demands that they should first come before us.”

“They feel that they can run a parallel sort of legal proceedings? It is not only contempt but it is a serious kind of fraud on the investors and the court,” the top court said, while wanting to know under what circumstances the advertisement for completion of flats was issued.

Amrapali had submitted before the top court that it was not in a position to complete the projects and hand over possession of flats to over 42,000 homebuyers in a time-bound manner. The Amrapali group has liabilities of about Rs 3,000 crore towards authorities and owes over Rs 1,000 crore to 10 banks.

The bench also expressed displeasure over submission of incomplete documents through senior advocate PS Patwalia. It also took note of diversion of funds to the tune of over Rs 2,700 crore by the group and also the group’s failure to deposit Rs 250 crore.

“They (Amrapali group) want to play hide and seek with the court… Does your client (Amrapali) feel that they are above everybody?… They are defrauding the poor people… Till tomorrow, we want all bank accounts details of Amrapali group. If there is non-disclosure, we will haul everyone for contempt,” it said.

Earlier, the real estate group had told the bench that it has submitted the proposal for construction of its unsold projects by NBCC to the high-powered monitoring committee set up by the central government to look into delayed projects in Noida. The bench had then asked the group to furnish the details of the proposal given to the Centre in 10 days and submit financial details of projects undertaken by it since 2008.

The apex court had on May 17 while giving the go ahead to three co-developers to complete the 12 stalled projects in the next 6-48 months had asked the developer to deposit Rs 250 crore in four weeks in an escrow account that will be paid to co-developers on completion of the projects. These co-developers included Noida-based Galaxy Group, IIFL-Viridian consortium, and Kanodia Cement.

During the hearing on February 22, the apex court had expressed serious concern over the interests of homebuyers and had warned the Amrapali group to finish remaining work of 19 towers of the Leisure Valley project in Greater Noida on time, failing which its promoters will be sent to jail. Besides, the builder was asked to furnish details of 13 other collaborators for funding and other assistance on the Leisure Valley project, comprising 1,665 flats, which is near completion. This was in line with the comprehensive proposal submitted by the group on how it planned to deliver 41,000 flats to its buyers in various projects.

The apex court is hearing a clutch of petitions filed by flat buyers who have demanded reversing of the September 4, 2017, NCLT order.

Buyers of Amrapali flats had moved the top court in October 2017 saying that despite assurances that the flats will be handed over in three years, 10 years had passed during which they had already paid 90% of the cost of flats, but the developer had failed to deliver the flats. They claimed that the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code violated their fundamental rights as they prioritised lending institutions.

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