Double Whammy for Amrapali Real Estates- SC Asked for Attachments
Supreme court on Tuesday took Amrapali Real estate groups in for a shock with its judgement of inquisition of Amrapali’s immediate attachment bank accounts, moveable properties of 40 group firms, and personal assets of Directors.
SC’s stern order is driven by the group’s failure to adhere to the former’s prior notice for disclosure of bank account details and deposit Rs 250 crore with the court.
A Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and UU lalit warned of initiating contempt action if its order was not complied. The court was “shocked” to learn about the Government move to let National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) complete Amrapali group’s unfinished projects. Wondering how this decision was taken without informing the apex court, the judge summoned the NBCC Chairman and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary to personally present in the court on Thursday.
There was a high drama in the court as senior advocate PS Patwalia, appearing for the realty firm, produced balance sheets of the company in response to the court’s earlier order. The court had previously called for the bank account details since 2008 to ascertain the alleged diversion of Rs 2,765 crore collected from homebuyers into other housing projects of Amrapali and its related firms.
Finding the bank accounts missing, the Bench said, “They (Amrapali group) want to play hide and seek with the court.
Do they feel that they are above everyone, Don’t play dirty games with the court….They are defrauding the poor people.”
Giving 24-hour notice to the group’s Chairman and Managing Director Anil Kumar Sharma, who was present in the court, the Bench directed all bank accounts details of Amrapali group to be produced in the court.
“If there is non-disclosure, we will haul everyone for contempt,” the Bench added. The court questioned how the chartered accountants certified on the company’s accounts without spotting the diversion of Rs 2,765 crore.
Nearly 42,000 homebuyers are in the dock as the real estate major has refused to complete the flats citing cash crunch. “Money given by the investors for the project cannot be siphoned to other projects as it amounts to criminal misappropriation. This is the malady which is affecting all the builders. We want to stop this nonsense once and for all,” the Bench said.
The court was unsparing even towards NBCC. Terming the advertisement as an “unfair” move to “scuttle” the court’s order, the Bench said, “It is sheer contempt of court. Totally unfair things are going on. When we are seized of the matter how they (NBCC) can run a parallel sort of legal proceedings. It is not only contempt but a serious kind of fraud on the investors and the court.” The court wanted to know who issued the advertisement and what circumstances forced such a decision to be taken.
Senior advocate Patwalia pointed out to the court that three projects of the group was due for completion at Bareilly, Greater Noida, and Muzaffarpur (Bihar) and the company expects an amount of Rs 300 crore from its sale.