The SC bench directed the court-appointed forensic auditors to complete their detailed investigation on divergence of home buyers money by Amrapali group before March 22 and list the matter for hearing on March 24.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Delhi police to arrest and interrogate in custody 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 and directors -- Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar.
The trio, under detention of the Uttar Pradesh police and kept in a hotel at Noida since October 9 last year by the apex court for not complying with its orders, was in for a shock when a bench of justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit ordered the arrest on a plea by Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police saying that it wanted to quiz them in a separate cheating case.
"We had never ever stopped any agency from arresting and interrogating the directors," the bench said, adding, "We make it clear that they (EOW) are free to arrest any or all directors."
The bench, which had taken strong exception of diversion of money of the home buyers by the directors and the real estate firm, directed the court-appointed forensic auditors to complete their detailed investigation on divergence of home buyers money by Amrapali group before March 22 and list the matter for hearing on March 24.
The bench, which had asked the real estate firm and its directors to either deposit the diverted money or be ready for consequences, on Thursday ordered forthwith attachment of personal properties of the CMD and the two directors.
The attached assets also included the south Delhi-based bungalow of CMD Sharma.
At the outset, the bench inquired from the forensic auditors about the status of their probe and asked as to when they would be filing their reports.
The auditors said that various firms and their officers concerned, to whom the monies were routed by the real estate major and its directors, have been evading and not cooperating in the forensic audit.
"Can you give the list of persons and companies who are not cooperating with you," the bench asked.
On being told that there were 200 people or entities which were evasive, the bench divided them into three groups and asked them to positively appear before the forensic auditors on March 5, 6, 7 and 8.
"In case there is any violation that would be treated very seriously by this court," the bench warned.
Earlier, the apex court had grilled the CMD for the fact that Rs 94 crore of home buyers was being shown in his personal bank account.
The bench had warned the CMD saying that it would send him to jail for his "reluctance" in disclosing the identity of a person, who had bought company's shares worth Rs 140 crore from the multi-national firm JP Morgan.
It had also appointed a valuer to ascertain the exact value of 5,229 unsold flats including those booked by Amrapali for just Rs 1, Rs 11 and Rs 12 and asked the valuer to submit its report.
It had also brought 'The Royal Golf Link City Projects Pvt Ltd' under its scanner and had sought its share holding pattern, names of promoters and balance-sheet.
It had also asked the valuer to explain the transaction made by JP Morgan Real Estate fund and Amrapali group and how it sold the real estate firm's shares to two little known companies 'Neelkant' and 'Rudraksh' for Rs 140 crore.
The bench had noted that 'Neelkant' and 'Rudraksh' company was owned by Chandan Kumar, who was a peon in the office of statutory auditor of Amrapali and Vivek Mittal was his relative.
The court had allowed the NBCC to issue advertisement for the unsold flats of two Amrapali Projects -- Eden Park and Castle -- being constructed by it so as funds could be raised.
On January 25, the apex court had given NBCC go-ahead to complete two stalled projects of Amrapali Group.
The NBCC had told the court that it has floated tenders for completion of two projects -- Eden Park and Castle -- of Amrapali and would start construction in the month of February.