To ensure speedy disposal of attached properties of now defunct Amrapali Group of Companies and its directors, the Supreme Court on Monday brought the Metal Scrap Trade Corporation (MSTC) to auction them and deposit the cash with the apex court registry.
The top court said that the funds collected through auction of properties will help in speedy completion of stalled projects and bringing back the confidence of home buyers.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit accepted the suggestion of senior advocate R Venkataramani, appointed as court receiver by the top court for auctioning of the attached properties of Amrapali.
The top court directed the relevant documents of the attached properties, which were with the Debt Recovery Tribunal be given to the MSTC, which would auction the assets and deposit the amount with the apex court registry.
The top court also asked Orissa State Housing Board, to deposit Rs 34 crore with the apex court registry, which had been deposited by Amrapali Group with it for developing a housing project.
It said that there will not be any forfeiture of any amount deposited by Amrapali as it was the home buyers’ money which was diverted by the embattled real estate group.
Similarly, the top court also asked the Raipur Development Authority to deposit Rs 19 crore with the apex court registry.
The counsel for Raipur Development Authority said that Rs 19 crore was deposited by Amrapali Group for the lease of three land plots for development into a housing society but the agreement was never fulfilled and the authority had to cancel the contract.
The top court took strong exception of non-compliance of its order of depositing the home buyers’ money by Surekha Group and directed that its directors Vishnu Surekha, Navneet Surekha and Akhil Surekha will have to remain present on December 2, if they do not deposit Rs. 167 crores with the apex court registry within six weeks.
“There are adverse finding against you all in the forensic audit and despite that you have not complied with our orders to return the money. Forensic auditors have found that there was a transaction of Rs 167 crore. It was home buyers money and you have to return that money or face the consequences,” the bench said.
The top court also restrained the Noida Authority from creating any rights or alienating the land of the Amrapali Heartbeat City, of which the lease it has recently cancelled.
The court took on record the third report of forensic auditors with regard to the Heartbeat city project of Amrapali and others.
On September 11, the top court had warned the homebuyers 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.
The top court cleared the modalities by which the homebuyers can be put to notice for clearing outstanding amounts after being validated by the court receiver appointed by the apex court.
On August 26, the apex court had directed that a forensic audit report of Amrapali group be given to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Delhi Police and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in India (ICAI) for taking appropriate action against the company directors and auditors for allegedly siphoning off over Rs 3,000 crore of home buyers” money.
The bench had directed the Noida and Greater Noida authorities to set up a nodal cell to disburse completion certificate to the Amrapali home buyers and redressal of other related issues.
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 the 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 EOW of Delhi Police.
It had directed the state-run NBCC to complete the stalled projects of the Amrapali Group, whose directors Anil Kumar Sharma, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar are behind the 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.