SC cancels RERA registration of Amrapali, directs ED to file money laundering case
New Delhi, July 23: The Supreme Court while cancelling the RERA registration of real estate major Amrapali Group also said that the Enforcement Directorate shall register a case of money laundering against its directors.
The court while cracking down on real estate companies delaying projects also asked the government to take stock of all pending projects across the country. The court said that action under RERA must be instituted to get projects completed. Further the government shall also issue new guidelines on completion, the court also said.
The Supreme Court was delivering its verdict as to who would complete the stalled projects of embattled real estate major Amrapali Group to give respite to over 42,000 hassled home buyers. The court also said that the NBCC be engaged to complete all pending projects.
The Bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit said that no dues will be recovered from the home buyers by the banks or any other authorities of Noida or Greater Noida. The amount will be recovered by selling of other properties of Amrapali.
Further the court said that Amrapali diverted home buyers money illegally. The group has committed a serious fraud and there is a violation under the FEMA. Since there is a money laundering aspect too, an ED investigation is being proposed. The ED shall file a quarterly report in this court, the SC also said.
The court reserved the verdict in the matter on May 10 after Noida and Greater Noida authorities said they don't have the resources and expertise to construct the stalled projects of Amrapali Group.
Both the authorities had favoured handing over the properties to a reputed builder under the supervision of a high powered committee.
The authorities had expressed inability to take any action like cancellation of lease agreements against the group, which regularly defaulted on payments, due to "bulk of home buyers" and "political weight".
Both the authorities told the court that they have outstanding of around ₹5,000 crore from Amrapali towards the principal amount and interest component, besides the penal interest.
The top court on May 8 said that it may give ownership rights of all the 15 prime residential properties of Amrapali to Noida and Greater Noida Authorities as it has failed to fulfil its obligations towards 42,000 home buyers.
The bench had then reserved its verdict on the question as to who will take over the management control and which builder or developer should finish the stalled projects of Amrapali.
The court had asked Noida authority to explain what action it has taken against Amrapali Group which was a "chronic defaulter" in payment of lease amount.
Noida authority said that under their jurisdiction they have seven projects of Amrapali and they have an outstanding of nearly ₹2,000 crore while they had received only ₹505 crore.
It had conceded that besides issuing repetitive show cause notices to Amrapali Group for defaulting in payments to Noida, they have not done anything.
Similar stand was taken by Greater Noida authority which had said that Amrapali Group has five projects under its jurisdiction out of which four are vacant lands and no construction has taken place.
Greater Noida authority had said that Amrapali has an outstanding of around 3400 crores and has paid only ₹363 crores till now.
After the reluctance shown by Noida and Greater Noida, the top court had indicated that the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) Limited could be one of the option to complete the stalled projects.
The court appointed forensic auditors -- Pawan Aggarwal and Ravinder Bhatia -- have found wide scale irregularities in the financial affairs of Amrapali Group and their initial report has suggested that over ₹3,000 crore of home buyers money.
On May 8, the court had said that it would throw Amrapali out from its properties and transfer its lock, stock and barrel to Noida and Greater Noida.
On February 28, the court had allowed the Delhi police to arrest Amrapali group CMD Anil Sharma and two directors on a complaint that home-buyers of their various housing projects were cheated and duped of their funds.
The top court, which is seized of several pleas of home-buyers seeking possession of around 42,000 flats booked in projects of the Amrapali group, also ordered attachment of personal properties of the CMD as also its directors -- Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar.