Shocked by “unfortunate” manipulation of its order in the high profile Amrapali case, the Supreme Court Wednesday issued a stern warning to errant Registry staffers and said some more heads will roll for destroying the institution.
Taking serious cognizance of the “sorry state of affairs”, the apex court said: “People are trying to change orders by influencing and manipulating the court staff, which would not be tolerated at any cost.”
The latest incident came to fore when the top court pointed out that the name of the forensic auditor in its order was changed.
The top court had in February sacked two of its staff and a case was lodged for allegedly tampering with an order which created an impression that industrialist Anil Ambani had been exempted from personal appearance in a contempt case filed by Ericsson.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit Wednesday modified its earlier order and asked the directors of various Amrapali Group’s supplier firms including Jotindra Steel and Tubes Ltd, a public listed company, to appear before forensic auditor Pawan Agarwal from May 9 for three days saying that non-compliance would be considered as contempt of court.
The bench said that when the court had ordered directors of various firms to appear before Agarwal, who has been investigating the case of Jotindra Steel, how did the name of other forensic auditor Ravinder Bhatia appear in the order sheet.
“It is unfortunate, shocking and surprising that orders of this court are being manipulated and influenced. It is sorry state of affairs in the Supreme Court. This cannot be tolerated. Few days back similar thing happened in Justice R F Nariman’s court and now again this has happened,” it said.
“Two persons were removed at that time. It seems that was not enough and some persons need to go out. Institution is being destroyed like this and a strong message needs to be sent to whoever is responsible,” it added.
On May 2, the bench said: “It is directed that all the Directors of M/s. Jotindra Steel and Tubes Ltd., M/s. Mauria Udyog Ltd., M/s. Bihariji Properties Pvt Ltd., M/s. Bihariji Developers Private Limited, M/s. Bihariji Highrise Private Limited and M/s. Sarvome Housing Private Limited, shall report at the Office of Ravinder Bhatia, Forensic Auditor along with all the documents required by them with respect to total transactions for next three days during 11 AM to 5 PM.”
The bench, which is hearing a batch of pleas of 42,000 home buyers against the embattled Amrapali Group for failing to give the possession of flats, said the court has identified the person and efforts are on to contact him.
“It is really shocking what is happening in the Supreme Court. They think that they can manipulate the court staffs and the orders of this court. It cannot be done. We know who this person is. We are trying to contact me. The way it is being done is very unfortunate,” it said.
The court said: “The said auditor, who was not involved in the case was named in the order while the other auditor who was involved and we told his name in the open court was not included”.
It warned the court staff, who had dealt with the order, and asked him to be careful from next time.
The bench then told Agarwal that the directors of the Amrapali Group’s supplier firms will meet him from tomorrow for three consecutive days and he should examine their relevant documents as required.
Agarwal earlier told the court that directors of Jotindra Steel and Tubes Ltd and other supplier firms of Amrapali, which were accused of being used for diversion of home buyers money to the tune of over Rs 400 crore were not cooperating with him.
Akhil Sureka, a Managing Director in the company, was found to be a director in group companies of Amrapali in the forensic audit.
The court-appointed forensic auditors detected siphoning of over Rs 400 crore by Surekha, who according to them, is an authorised signatory of Amrapali in banks since 2016 on wards.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Surekha had told the court that he was duped by Amrapali and it owes him Rs 112 crore for the material they have supplied for construction of projects.
On February 28, the apex court had allowed the Delhi police to arrest Amrapali group CMD Anil Sharma and two directors on a complaint that home-buyers of their various housing projects were cheated and duped of their funds.
The top court, which is seized of several pleas of home-buyers seeking possession of around 42,000 flats booked in projects of the Amrapali group, also ordered attachment of personal properties of the CMD and directors — Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar.