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SC directs seven banks to release Rs 1,500 crore by March 29 to finish Amrapali projects

The top court also retained a direction in its earlier order dated August 13, 2021, on the plea of the Reserve Bank of India regarding a blanket ban on declaration of non-performing asset (NPA) accounts.

The court had in 2019 asked the government’s construction arm to finish and deliver 38,159 flats by the erstwhile Amrapali Group by 2023.

The court had in 2019 asked the government’s construction arm to finish and deliver 38,159 flats by the erstwhile Amrapali Group by 2023.

The Supreme Court on March 28 directed the consortium of seven banks to release Rs 1,500 crore by March 29 so that construction of stalled real estate projects of the embattled Amrapali Group can begin soon.

Bank of Baroda is the lead bank of the consortium of seven banks. Other lenders include Punjab National Bank, UCO Bank, Bank of India, State Bank of India, Indian Bank, and Punjab and Sindh Bank, which have formed a consortium to fund the stalled projects of Amrapali Group.

All the banks have issued the sanction order for granting money for Amrapali projects. Indian Bank was to hold a meeting in the evening today and then pass the sanction order for disbursal of funds.

"We, therefore, direct all the banks of the consortium to effectuate funds disbursal by tomorrow, so that NBCC (National Buildings Construction Corporation) can put the amount in use by March 31," the bench of Justices UU Lalit and Bela M Trivedi said.

“We are happy that money will now start to flow in and ease the financial burden being faced by NBCC and ensure that construction goes on smoothly,” Kumar Mihir, advocate representing homebuyers, told Moneycontrol.

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The top court also retained a direction in its earlier order dated August 13, 2021, on the plea of the Reserve Bank of India regarding a blanket ban on the declaration of non-performing asset (NPA) accounts and said that it does not want any roadblock in the funding of stalled projects by the banks. The bench said it would consult the RBI, if required, whenever any matter comes before it.

On July 23, 2019, the top court cancelled the registration of the Amrapali Group under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, and ousted it from its prime properties in NCR by nixing land leases for breaching buyers’ trust.

The NBCC has been tasked by the Supreme Court to complete the stalled projects of Amrapali Group. NBCC has undertaken the completion of over 650 units in Noida and more than 4,500 units in 23 projects in Greater Noida under the aegis of Amrapali Stalled Projects and Investment Reconstruction Establishment (ASPIRE) and supervision of the Supreme Court of India.

Last year’s order had said that even if ASPIRE is not able to pay back the money its account cannot be declared a non-performing asset (NPA). The RBI then filed an application that as per its regulations this is not permitted and blanket protection cannot be given to an entity.

The Supreme Court-appointed court receiver R Venkataramani filed an application in the court on March 28 that if ASPIRE for any reason is unable to pay back the money, the banks will approach the RBI which will then pass an order that they are relaxing this law for ASPIRE as a special case, Kumar explained.

Advocate ML Lahoty, appearing for a group of Amrapali homebuyers, said that former director of the group Prem Mishra had sold flats, plots and villas even during the pendency of the matter before the top court at the time when an injunction was in place. He urged the court that Rs 85 crore be recovered from Mishra and the unsold inventory be put to auction to generate funds for the stalled projects.

He also submitted that SC had delivered a judgement earlier that had said that Rs 11,000 crore had been diverted by Amrapali directors. This amount should now be recovered, he said.

The next date of hearing is on April 4, 2022.

The total estimated cost for construction of all housing projects is around Rs 8,500 crore and the amount recoverable from buyers of housing and commercial projects is Rs 3,700 crore.

On March 21, the Supreme Court was informed by Venkataramani, that initially they had issued a list of around 8,000 flats which were not claimed by any buyer or which were booked under bogus names or were undervalued.

"Since then around 4,000 claimants came forward and we are in the process of finalising their agreements. Around 4,000 flats still remain and we hope in the next two weeks or ten days more people may come forward and eventually 3,000 such flats would remain. These flats will be treated as unsold inventory and will be auctioned to generate more funds," he had said.

The court was also informed that homebuyers had deposited Rs 900 crore. As many as 7,000 defaulters have been screened and the final list of 3,000 plus defaulters will be submitted to the court in the next two weeks, and the court may then allow these allotments to be sold.

On March 7, the top court was told that Bank of Baroda which is leading the six-bank consortium has infused Rs 300 crore.

Former group directors of Amrapali - Anil Kumar Sharma, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar - are currently in prison following the Supreme Court’s orders.



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Vandana Ramnani
first published: Mar 28, 2022 10:15 pm
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