Without doing anything, middlemen raked in moolah, says SC
THE FACT THAT SETTLEMENT MONEY AT THE RATE OF ₹3.5 CRORE PER ACRE WAS MADE OVER TO ENTITIES IS QUITE SHOCKING, SAYS THE APEX COURT
CHANDIGARH: Eleven group companies of real estate developer ABW Infrastructure Ltd, named as accused in the chargesheet filed by CBI in the Manesar land release case, entered into a number of “settlement-cumcancellation of agreement to sell” with certain private entities, thus ensuring transfer of huge sums to the latter.
Ordering CBI to investigate these transactions, including unearthing of unnatural gains received by ‘middlemen’ in the case, the Supreme Court in its order in Manesar land deal examined several such agreements.
The apex court while cancelling an arrangement said, “Settlement amount of ₹3.5 crore per acre was paid to the vendee as full and final settlement between the parties and discharge of all claims.”
It also said that except in one case, where part of earnest money was deposited in cash, the amount was paid by cheques in rest of the cases. In none of the cases, any cheque — issued as advance-cum-earnest money — was encashed. “The compensation paid to the vendee in every case is on or about August 30, 2008 and at a consistent rate of ₹3.5 crore per acre,” the court said.
The apex court in its order also quoted an instance where an agreement of sale was executed in October 2007 between M/s Beeta Promoters Pvt Ltd (the vendor) and M/s Arison Builders Pvt Ltd (the vendee) for certain lands agreed to be sold at the rate of ₹58.6 lakh per acre. A cheque for ₹1 lakh and the same amount in cash was paid as advance.
“Though the ₹1-lakh cheque was given on the date when the agreement to sell was executed, the said cheque was never encashed and was returned to the vendee. Thus, the land which was agreed to be sold at the rate of ₹58 lakh per acre was not sold at all. But by way of settlement at the rate of ₹3.5 crore per acre was made by the vendee. Interestingly, nothing was received by the vendor by way of advance or earnest through bank channels as the cheque was admittedly never encashed,” the apex court ruled.
“The fact that settlement money at the rate of ₹3.5 crore per acre was made over to entities, which apparently had done nothing in the matter, is quite shocking,” the Supreme Court said.
“Neither had these entities procured land from the original landholders nor were they ultimate developers who wanted to develop the property. Such entities can certainly be termed as ‘middlemen’ who walked away with tremendous amount of money or benefits,” the apex court added in its order.
However, attempts to get a comment, either on telephone or through text, from the director of ABW Infrastructure, Atul Bansal, were unsuccessful.