The Supreme Court on Monday directed thousands of Amrapali home buyers to pay outstanding amounts by January 31 either in installments or at one go for speedy completion of all stalled projects. The top court asked 28 banks, who have entered into agreements directly with home buyers or through the Amrapali Group for financing homes, to disburse the pending amount within one month.
It asked Additional Solicitor General Vikramjeet Banerjee to seek instruction on whether certain amount of money from the Rs 25,000 crore fund, announced on November 6 by the Centre for completing stalled real estate projects in the country, can be used as a loan for pending Amrapali projects and what are the modalities.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit said that funds need to be channelised to complete the pending projects of Amrapali Group in order to provide respite to the hassled home buyers.
“So far around Rs 105 crore out of around Rs 3000 crore outstanding amount have been deposited by the home buyers,” the bench said, adding, “We direct the home buyers to deposit the outstanding amount by January 31, 2020 either in installments or at one go”.
During the hearing, joint director of Enforcement Directorate (ED) Rajeshwar Singh informed the court that the agency has prima facie found evidence of violation of The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) by multi national firm JP
Morgan and they have recorded the statements of the country head of the company with regard to dealings with the now defunct Amrapali Group. He said though investigation is underway but prima facie it appears that there are also violations of provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and appropriate actions are being taken.
The top court directed the ED that the investigation should be done impartially, properly and expeditiously within three months time.
It also pulled up Surekha Group director Akhil Surekha, who appeared in person for non-compliance of the court’s order of depositing Rs 167 crores of home buyers money, which were siphoned off from the Amrapali Group.
The bench said, “If you do not come out with a concrete proposal within one week, we will put you in jail along with other two directors Navneet Surekha and Vishnu Surekha. We will attach all your company accounts and properties situated in Faridabad and Delhi. You have to deposit some money within one week to show your bonafide or face serious consequences”.
Surekha requested the bench to grant some time saying that he is facing some financial problems and had incurred huge losses in business.
To this, the bench said, “Now a days people are ready to go to jail but are not willing to deposit the money”.
The top court directed the state-run NBCC to complete the work of eight Amrapali projects — Zodiac, Sapphire- 1, Sapphire- 2, Silicon City-1, Silicon City-2, Princely Estate, Centurion Park Low Rise and O2 Valley having around 11,258 units in Noida and Greater Noida.
It directed government owned Metal Scrap Trade Corporation (MSTC) to auction a fleet of 86 luxury cars attached on the court’s order from the Amrapali Group of companies to garner funds for the pending projects.
The bench also asked forensic auditors and senior advocate R Venkataramani, appointed as court receiver for Amrapali Properties, to sit together and submit a concrete proposal including a professional agency which can sell 5,229 unsold inventories at a good price.
The top court posted the matter for further hearing on December 13.
On October 14, to ensure speedy disposal of attached properties of now defunct Amrapali Group of Companies and its directors, the top court had asked the MSTC to auction them and deposit the cash with the apex court registry.
It had restrained the Noida Authority from creating any rights or alienating the land of Amrapali Heartbeat City, the lease of which it recently cancelled.
On September 11, the top court had warned home buyers of now defunct Amrapali Group that their unwillingness to pay the outstanding dues may lead to winding up of the stalled projects due to financial crunch.
Earlier, the apex court had cracked its whip on errant builders for breaching the trust reposed by home buyers and ordered cancellation of the registration of the Amrapali Group under real estate law RERA, and ousted it from its prime properties in the NCR by nixing the land leases.
It had directed a fresh probe by the ED into alleged money laundering by realtors besides the investigation being done by the economic offences wing (EOW) of Delhi Police.
It had directed the state-run National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) to complete the stalled projects of the Amrapali Group, whose directors Anil Kumar Sharma, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar are behind bars on the top court’s order.
It directed the Centre and states to ensure that projects are completed in a time-bound manner as contemplated in RERA and home buyers are not defrauded, and ordered the Noida and Greater Noida authorities to give completion certificate to the home buyers of Amrapali group who are already residing in various projects.
The top court also termed the sequence of events in Amrapali group a “shocking and surprising state of affairs” where such large-scale cheating has taken place and middle and poor class home buyers were duped and deprived of their hard-earned money.