Spotting diversion of funds to the tune of over Rs 2700 crore by the embattled real estate firm Amrapali Group, the Supreme Court today sought details of financial transactions made by the company and its statement of accounts in the next five days.
Spotting diversion of funds to the tune of over Rs 2700 crore by the embattled real estate firm Amrapali Group, the Supreme Court today sought details of financial transactions made by the company and its statement of accounts in the next five days. The top court found that Amrapali Group in its affidavit filed before it had said that Rs 2766 crores were diverted to two other companies. It said that the “jigsaw puzzle” created by the company, facing insolvency proceedings initiated by creditor banks for not repaying loans, has to be solved so that the hassled home buyers can be granted relief.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit said the company will have to specify under what provisions, the money of a project was diverted to other companies. “You have to tell us each and every single instance where the money was diverted from the company to other projects. What was the nature of transaction? Whether it is lending, loan or payment, we want each and every thing,” the bench said. The court asked the company to specify the dates of every transactions and say whether it was done before the enactment of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 or after the law was passed.
The bench, which initially asked for its audit report, later asked the company to file statement of accounts after the counsel for Amrapali Group said it would be difficult to get it in five days time. “If you have the will, then you can still file the details. By next Wednesday (next date of hearing of the case), everything will be made clear,” the bench said. The court said the problem with the company was that it has not complied with its deadlines for the projects.
Senior advocate Ajit Sinha, appearing for the home buyers, pointed out to the bench from the affidavit filed by the company in the court that funds to the tune of Rs 2766 crores were diverted to two companies. Sinha said the company has no explanation as to why it had diverted the funds and if these funds were available, a lot of problems of home buyers could have been resolved. The bench asked advocate Gaurav Bhatia, appearing for the company, to explain the details of diversion, which he failed to give a satisfactory reply.
“It is up to you to put your house in order. How will you do we don’t know. A businessman should stand by his words,” the bench said. Senior advocate Mahalakshmi Pavani, appearing for home buyers of the Amrapalli Heartbeat City project at Noida in Uttar Pradesh, said the directors of the company had abandoned the project and only 20 per cent work was complete. She said that 85 home buyers were seeking refund of their money invested in the project which has been now delayed.
“People have taken loans from the banks and paying installments. They have paid 90 per cent of the money but the project is no where near completion,” Pavani said. The bench, after perusing the pictures of the project, directed that company to apprise the court about the transfer of money collected from the home buyers and the purpose for which it was transferred. The top court assured Pavani saying the home buyers need not worry as their money is secure and if the need arose, then the personal assets of the company promoters will be confiscated and sold to pay back the money.
At the outset, the bench asked the company to complete repair works of escalators, lifts and fire safety equipments in all residential buildings built by it in Noida and Greater Noida and make them functional. It also asked for the financial statements, undertakings and track record of the builders, who are interested in completion of Amrapali group projects.
On April 25, the apex court had said it would like to be assured of the financial standing and credentials of a company which is willing to take over some of the projects of Amrapali Group, observing that the home buyers “cannot be just thrown to a frying pan”. In a bid to ascertain whether there was any “siphoning” of funds, the top court had earlier asked the group to provide details of the money it had collected from the homebuyers and how much it had invested in its housing projects.
The Amrapali Group had then given the details of its ongoing housing projects, stages of work and the likely time to complete construction. The company, had earlier told the top court in an affidavit that it was not in a position to complete the projects and hand over possession of flats to over 42,000 home-buyers in a time-bound manner.