A day after it rapped the Amrapali Group, for failing to comply with its order, a Supreme Court bench of justices Arun Mishra and UU Lalit, on August 2, 2018, asked the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) to place before it a ‘concrete proposal’ within 30 days, as to how they propose to complete the projects of embattled real estate major Amrapali Group, along with a time line of work. The order came, after NBCC chairman Dr Anoop Kumar Mittal, told the bench that NBCC was ready to undertake the projects of Amrapali Group, to complete the work and it would conduct a detailed study, before making a proposal.
The top court had, on August 1, 2018, cracked the whip on the Amrapali Group, for playing ‘fraud’ and ‘dirty games’ with the court and ordered attachment of all the bank accounts and movable properties of its 40 firms. It told the NBCC that funds collected by the Group from home buyers, would be made available to them, to complete the projects and asked the builder and representatives of the buyers to assist the corporation and provide all documents. The bench again came down heavily on the Amrapali Group, for its failure to comply with the court’s directions and adhering to the undertakings furnished to the court and recalled its earlier order, asking the builder to deposit Rs 250 crores.
Allowing the recall application filed by the Group, the bench said that the conduct of the realtor was ‘wholly unfair’ and it was ‘absolutely improper’ that it had not complied with the order. “You (Amrapali Group) have not deposited the money. How can we rely on you? Why should we trust you? You are not providing water (to the home buyers who have got possession) and have no lifts. You have earned money and you are not even providing water. What kind of person are you?” the bench said. The bench also took note of the alleged diversion of Rs 2,765 crores by the Amrapali Group and asked its auditor to find out where this money had gone and submit a report.
It had, on August 1, observed that diversion of funds collected from investors by real estate developers, was a ‘malady’ and it wanted to stop this ‘nonsense’, once and for all. The bench, on August 2, asked the two chartered accountants (CAs), who were present in the court and had handled work of the Group till 2015, to find out how this money was diverted or transferred by the company, for utilising the same in other projects. “You are the CA. You are supposed to be the watchdog. We want to know about the movement of funds of Rs 2,765 crores. Where that money has gone, we want to know. We want to know the complete movement of this Rs 2,765 crores,” the bench told one of the CAs, who had handled the work of the Group from 2008 till 2015. “We want you to trace the entire movement of money and inform us,” the bench said. The court also directed its registry to intimate the banks about its order, freezing all the bank accounts of the 40 firms of Amrapali Group of companies.
NBCC chairman Mittal appeared in the court, in pursuance to its direction and said the corporation had issued a general advertisement, inviting co-developers and that it was not specifically for the Amrapali Group. The bench had, on August 1, taken umbrage as to how the NBCC had issued advertisements inviting co-developers, for allegedly doing work related to the Amrapali Group, without taking the approval of the apex court. Mittal told the bench that NBCC was ready to undertake the projects of Amrapali Group, to complete the work and it would conduct a detailed study, before making a proposal. The NBCC chairman initially told the bench that it needed 60 days’ time, to come out with the proposal but after the court said they have to expedite the process, Mittal said the corporation would do so in 30 days.
“We appreciate the gesture of the NBCC chairman, who assures us that he would submit the proposal within 30 days. Let the proposal be placed before us within 30 days,” the bench said. Durga Shanker Mishra, secretary of Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, appeared before the court and said the Uttar Pradesh government had constituted a committee under his chairmanship, to look into the problem of home buyers of Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway and that the panel was set up, to take a policy decision on ways to resolve the problem. He said the committee had held meetings on June 25 and July 10, after which four realtors – Amrapali, Unitech, Jaypee and 3C – were called for a meeting on July 18, 2018, to know about the status of their projects and problems faced by the buyers. He said he was not aware of the apex court’s order in Amrapali’s matter and never intended to violate the orders.