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SC Favours Allowing Registration of Flats to Provide Relief to Amrapali Home Buyers

The SC bench said that it was not happy with the valuation of Amrapali's five-star hotel Tech Park in Greater Noida at just Rs 90 crore and would like to get valued by an independent valuer.


Updated:January 16, 2019, 9:23 PM IST
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SC Favours Allowing Registration of Flats to Provide Relief to Amrapali Home Buyers
File Photo of the Supreme Court of India.

New Delhi: To provide relief to hassled home buyers residing in flats built by embattled Amrapali Group, the Supreme Court on Wednesday indicated that it may allow them to register their residences with the authorities concerned.

The top court said that flat buyers of Amrapali Group were not able to register their flats with the authorities concerned as they did not have completion certificate and if need arises it may invoke powers of extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution to direct for registration of the flats.

"Amrapali home buyers should not suffer due to want of completion certificate and ongoing litigation. We may direct the authorities to register their flats on payment of proportional amount to Noida and Greater Noida authorities. If the need arises we may invoke Article 142 of the Constitution to issue directions," a bench of justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit told counsels appearing for home buyers and Amrapali.

It asked the parties to give their legal suggestions on the next date of hearing so that directions could be passed to the authorities.

Advocate M L Lahoty, appearing for home buyers said that it will be a big relief to the flat owners and they would submit the legal suggestion on next date of hearing.

He said that when Unitech promoters are in jail for a similar offence, the CMD and directors of Amrapali Group cannot be allowed to stay in a hotel.

Lahoty suggested that the court should direct money be recovered from unsold inventory of Amrapali Group and by selling the tech-park five star hotel of the company.

The bench said that it was not happy with the valuation of Amrapali's five-star hotel Tech Park in Greater Noida at just Rs 90 crore and would like to get valued by an independent valuer.

"There may be some cartelization working. We would not like that to happen. We are not happy with the value. This is a five-star hotel. We want a valuer who is directly responsible to the court," the bench said.

It also voiced concern that Amrapali's 100-bed multi-speciality hospital in Greater Noida has not been sold till now despite directions of the court.

"We would also not like that the hospital is over-valued because it would not allow any other party to take it over. There should be no cartelisation," the bench said.

The court-appointed forensic auditors told the bench that they have found cases of duplicate booking of flats by Amrapali Group in which flats were sold twice and money was taken from both the parties.

Forensic auditor Ravi Bhatia, in his report, said that as per financial statements and the books of accounts scrutinised up to March 31, 2015 for the 23 companies of Amrapali, it was found that Rs 2761.49 crores of the home buyers money has been diverted to other projects, other group companies, directors and their relatives and senior employees.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing on January 24.

The apex court had on December 12 last year directed the Debt Recovery Tribunal, Delhi to conduct the valuation of Amrapali's five-star hotel Tech Park in Greater Noida and sell it by January end.

The court had asked the company to file the details of the assets it created with Rs 2,990 crore and the board resolutions which allowed Rs 1,100 crore to be spent for purchasing share capital.

It directed the forensic auditors to also examine whether any siphoning of funds was done by granting sub-leases or any favours were doled out in such transactions.

The apex court had on December 5 ordered attachment and sale of the realty firm's five-star hotel, cinema hall, malls and factories across India, calling it "a worst kind of cheater" and "a perfect liar" for not complying with the court's direction.

The top court had also ordered attachment of four swanky corporate offices of Amrapali Group situated in Noida and Greater Noida, and asked the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), Delhi to auction them.

The top court gave a window to the firm's directors and their family members to return home-buyers' money, if they have it, by December 10.

It had sought response from Amrapali Group CMD Anil Sharma and its directors, Chief Financial officer and statutory auditor Anil Mittal, asking them why a criminal case for breach of trust should not be lodged against them.

The apex court had earlier initiated contempt proceedings against Sharma and its directors for prima facie violating court's order and thwarting the course of justice.

The court is seized of a batch of petitions filed by home buyers who are seeking possession of around 42,000 flats booked in projects of the Amrapali Group.

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