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Amrapali case: SC directs homebuyers to deposit pending amount by Jan 31, 2020

Instructions sought on whether a part of the Rs 25,000 crore stressed fund can be utilized to complete Amrapali projects; Next date of hearing is December 13.  

 
 
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The Supreme Court on December 2 directed thousands of Amrapali homebuyers to deposit the balance amount by January 31. The government has also been asked to inform the court by December 13, whether the Rs 25,000 crore- stress fund announced by the Centre could be utilised to complete the stuck projects of the embattled group.

Funds are required to complete the pending projects of Amrapali Group in order to provide relief to thousands of homebuyers, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit said.

"So far, around Rs 105 crore out of around Rs 3,000 crore outstanding amount have been deposited by the homebuyers. We direct the homebuyers to deposit the outstanding amount by January 31, 2020 either in installments or at one go," the bench said.

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On September 11, the top court had warned homebuyers that their unwillingness to pay the outstanding dues may lead to winding up of the stalled projects due to financial crunch.

On December 2, the bench asked Additional Solicitor General Vikramjeet Banerjee to seek instructions on whether a 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 the modalities of the same would be. He has been asked to inform the court about the same by the next date of hearing (December 13).

The NBCC informed the court that they have identified eight projects as part of Phase 1. They said that tenders for the projects have been floated and the work will start by January. Possession would be handed over after nine months, the NBCC added.

Noida and Greater Noida authorities have been directed to identify the area over which stamp duty is liable to be paid. This exercise has to be done in the next seven days. They have also been directed to execute registries in the next month, failing which the CEOs of both the authorities will be held responsible, Kumar Mihir, advocate, told Moneycontrol.

Banks have been directed to be present during the next hearing and inform the court within one month as to what they are planning to do about the NPA accounts and whether or not they are willing to give fresh loans to buyers. It directed the banks to complete the task within a month, sources said.

The enforcement directorate (ED) has been directed to complete the investigation with respect to JP Morgan by the next date of hearing and present its report.

During the hearing, joint director of the 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 the multi-national firm and they have recorded the statements of the company’s country head with regard to dealings with Amrapali Group. The top court directed the ED that the investigation should be done within three months.

Local police of Noida and Greater Noida have been directed to protect the properties of the Amrapali Group.

The court also directed Surekha Group director Akhil Surekha, who appeared in person for non-compliance of the court's order to deposit Rs 167 crore of homebuyers’ money, which was siphoned off from the Amrapali Group, to come up with a concrete proposal within a 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,” the court said.

It directed the government owned Metal Scrap Trade Corporation (MSTC) to auction a fleet of 86 luxury cars attached, on its order, from the Amrapali Group of companies to garner funds for the pending projects.

The bench also asked forensic auditor and senior advocate R Venkataramani, appointed court receiver for Amrapali Properties, to sit together and submit a concrete proposal including a professional agency which can sell the 5,229 unsold inventories at a good price. On October 14, the court had asked the MSTC to auction the properties and deposit the amount with the apex court registry.

It had earlier 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.

On July 23, the apex court had cracked its whip on errant builders for breaching the trust reposed by homebuyers 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.

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.

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First Published on Dec 2, 2019 10:23 pm
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