The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the group chairman and managing director Anil Sharma, chief financial officer (CFO) Chandra Wadhwa and statutory auditor Anil Mittal of the Amrapali Group and seek response as to why a case for criminal breach of trust should not be lodged against them.
The Court lashed upon the Amrapali Group and sternly ordered attachment as well as the sale of its five-star hotel, corporate offices, located in Noida and Greater Noida, cinema hall, malls, luxury cars and factories across the country, citing non-compliance of it's earlier nine orders. The Court said,
"You (Amrapali Group) are a worst kind of cheater in the world. You have cheated the home buyers all along and now you want to sell the facilities created for them. The facility area created for the home buyers is not a charity you have done to them."
A bench of justices Arun Mishra and UU Lalit while noting the fact that the group is trying to manipulate the things ever since, directed the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) to conduct an auction of the properties.
The bench also asked the firm’s directors and their kin to return the invested money of home-buyers by December 10.
The bench was dealing with a batch of petitions filed by home buyers, seeking possession of around 42,000 flats booked in Amrapali Group projects and sought reversing of the September 4, 2017 National Company Law Tribunal order, claiming that the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 violated their fundamental rights as they prioritised lending institutions.
The stern reaction of the bench came when advocate ML Lahoty, appearing for the petitioners, alleged before the Court that the company had diverted home buyer's investment of around Rs 3,000 crore for other purposes. However, the company had already denied such allegations.
Nonetheless, the court has allowed a day’s time to the company to provide data files including the vouchers and receipt regarding its business transactions for period 2015-18, to the court-appointed forensic auditors.
The Court, during the course of proceedings also noted that as per the company affidavit, the group had invested homebuyer's money of Rs. 1,100 crore in acquiring the shares of a sister company. The diversion of homebuyers hard earned money lead the group to a financial crisis, which eventually stalled their projects, putting a big question mark for the homebuyers for their investments.
Citing the same, the Court asked the validity as well as beneficiaries of such transactions and asked the authorities to provide details of authorization to purchase the shares mentioned in the affidavit.
The attachment of property is not the first instance for the group, earlier also, on November 13, the Court attached group's multi-speciality hospital, bank accounts, the building possessing its office, some firms and also a “benami” villa in Goa.
Amrapali is involved in the construction of housing projects which includes 170 towers in Noida and Greater Noida and is facing insolvency proceedings initiated by creditors, while home buyers are hassled.
Based on the disclosures and submissions made by the auditors, the bench has observed the fact clearly that the objective of the business of the Amrapali Group was not merely construction but they had other dishonest motives as well.