SC orders attachment, sale of Amrapali assets
CONTINUING its crackdown on the embattled Amrapali Group, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered attachment and sale of the realty firm’s five-star hotel, cinema hall, malls and factories across India, calling it “a worst kind of cheater” and “a perfect liar” for not complying with the court's direction. Amrapali is facing suits by homebuyers for alleged diversion of money collected by some of the group’s firms. The top court also ordered attachment of four swanky corporate offices of Amrapali Group situated in Noida and Greater Noida, and asked the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), Delhi, to auction them. The top court gave a window to the firm’s directors and their family members to return homebuyers’ money, if they have it, by December 10. It asked the firm to explain by next week the diversion of around Rs 3,000 crore of homebuyers’ money for other purposes. The SC bench issued notice to the Amrapali Group CMD Anil Sharma, asking them why a criminal case for breach of trust should not be lodged against him.
Apex court calls the realty firm “a worst kind of cheater” and “a perfect liar”
The bench of justices Arun Mishra and UU Lalit issued similar notices to Amrapali Group’s directors, CFO and statutory auditor Anil Mittal.
“You (Amrapali Group) are a worst kind of cheater in the world. You have cheated the homebuyers all along and now you want to sell the facilities created for them. The facility area created for the homebuyers is not a charity you have done to them,” the bench said after it was told that the real estate firm wants to sell a nursery school, an open space and a nursing home to raise funds.
It gave 24-hours to the Amrapali Group to hand over the raw data files of the business transactions of the company including the vouchers, receipt and the required authorisation for the period of 2015-18, to the forensic auditors appointed by the court. The bench pulled up the firm for repeated non-compliance with the court's direction and not giving the data of business transactions for period of 2015-2018, to forensic auditors. “You are a first degree liar. We are not satisfied with your affidavit and you have only tried to manipulate things. Despite nine orders, you have not given specific information about business transactions for period 2015-18,” the bench said.
It directed the DRT to auction all the attached properties including the hotel, malls, corporate offices, movie hall, factories and lands across India.
Among the properties the court directed to be attached forthwith and auctioned by DRT include a five-star hotel Amrapali Holiday Inn Tech Park at Greater Noida; a FMCG company called Amrapali Biotech and Mums situated in Rajgir and Buxar districts of Bihar; Amrapali Malls in Gaya, Muzaffarpur and Bareilly; Hitech City movie hall at Meerut; Amrapali Precast factory at Greater Noida and land in Purnia in Bihar and Bhubneshwar, apart from a villa in Goa. The court also ordered attachment of a fleet of luxury cars bought by the company from the buyers’ money. The court while perusing the affidavit of Amrapali pointed out that it has invested Rs 1,100 crore of homebuyers' money in purchasing the shares of a sister company. “How can the homebuyers' money be used to purchase the shares. Give us all the details, who authorised to purchase the shares,” the bench said.