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Amrapali case: SC directs MSTC to auction attached properties of Amrapali Group

The top court directed that the documents of the attached properties, which were with the Debt Recovery Tribunal be handed over to the MSTC, which would auction the assets and deposit the amount with the apex court registry.

Supreme Court of India

Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court October 11 gave five directions in the Amrapali matter that included authorising the Metal Scrap Trade Corporation (MSTC) to auction the attached properties of the embattled firm and its directors and deposit the sale proceeds with the apex court.

The top court directed that the documents of the attached properties, which were earlier with the Debt Recovery Tribunal, be handed over to MSTC, which would then auction the assets and deposit the amount with the apex court registry.

To raise funds to complete Amrapali’s unfinished housing projects, the Supreme Court had last year appointed a debt recovery tribunal (DRT) officer to oversee the sale of its unencumbered assets.

On October 14, the apex court also asked Orissa State Housing Board to deposit Rs 34 crore with the apex court registry. This money had been deposited by Amrapali Group with it for developing a housing project within four weeks. The Raipur Development Authority has been asked to deposit Rs 19 crore with the apex court registry.

The two authorities have been asked to deposit the amount with the registry within four weeks so that the amount received after the sale of these lands can be utilized for construction of Amrapali projects, said Kumar Mihir, SC advocate.

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The top court also directed directors of Surekha Group Vishnu Surekha, Navneet Surekha and Akhil Surekha to remain present on the next date of hearing on December 2, if they do not deposit Rs 167 crores with the apex court registry within six weeks.

The bench of Justices Arun Mishra and UU Lalit also prevented Noida Authority from creating any rights or alienating the land of the Amrapali Heartbeat City, of which the lease it has recently cancelled.

Corporation Bank submitted a proposal in Court for regularizing bank accounts of homebuyers that have been declared as non-performing assets. No directions were given by the court on this issue but the homebuyers counsel said that first, a mechanism should be created on how the EMIs would be charged and the amount that would have to be paid by homebuyers upfront for regularization.

“No penalty should be imposed on buyers whose accounts have been declared as NPA,” said Mihir Kumar.

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 court on October 14 was also informed by the court receiver that homebuyers have so far deposited Rs 65 lakh through the portal that was activated a fortnight ago.

On September 11, the apex court had observed that it would not allow the "ghost buyers", who had purchased flats from Amrapali Group at a nominal price to step in by allowing them to pay the outstanding amount and their registration of flats will be annulled.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and UU Lalit had said, "If home buyers are not ready to pay their outstanding amount, then we will have to bundle up the projects."

The court had said the project-wise name of the homebuyers, whose payments are due, will be uploaded on the websites of UCO bank, Noida and Greater Noida authorities and would be later validated by the senior advocate R Venkataramani.

The bench said that after the court receiver validates the details of homebuyers on these websites, they will be put on notices to pay the outstanding amounts, which has been estimated by the forensic auditors to be around Rs 3,600 crore.

It had directed that a separate account be opened at the UCO Bank branch at the apex court, where the homebuyers could deposit their outstanding amount.

The court had also issued notices to six banks--Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Syndicate Bank, Bank of India and Bank of Maharashtra -- and directed that remaining instalment of home buyers can be released on account of their home loans/property loans.

The top court in September had directed the two forensic auditors --Pawan Aggrawal and Ravi Bhatia -- to complete the audit of two remaining projects, Heartbeat City and O2 Valley --of Amrapali Group, whose registration was scrapped by the apex court under the RERA Act, by September 30 to look into the irregularities committed by the group.

On October 14, the court took on record the third report of forensic auditors with regard to the Heartbeat city project of Amrapali and others.

On July 23, the apex court had ordered the 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 homebuyers 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 had earlier 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.

The apex court on August 13 had asked officials of Noida and Greater Noida authorities to start giving possession of flats to Amrapali homebuyers, warning that a delay would land them in jail.
Vandana Ramnani
first published: Oct 14, 2019 09:52 pm

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