Speed Up Probe Against JP Morgan, SC Orders Enforcement Directorate in Amrapali Case
An audit, ordered in 2018, revealed that JP Morgan knew about Amrapali Zodiac diverting money received from homebuyers to the other group companies.
A file photo of the Supreme Court.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has directed the Enforcement Directorate to speed up its investigations into the alleged role of JP Morgan in illegally helping the Amrapali Group divert funds meant for housing projects.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Uday U Lalit examined the first status report adduced in the court by India's anti money-laundering agency, and ordered it to expedite the probe and submit a report in this regard.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, assisted by ED officers Rajeshwar Singh and Amit Kumar Mishra, adduced the report on actions taken so far, and assured the top court of prompt action.
"Let the further investigation be made and this Court be duly apprised about the same. Let the investigation be completed as expeditiously as possible and taken to a logical end," stated the court order on December 2.
The order, published on the Supreme Court website on Wednesday evening, added: "Let the investigation be done inclusive of JP Morgan with promptitude and a report in this regard be placed before the Court."
The court had in July ordered an extensive investigation against the Amrapali Group, based in the National Capital Region (NCR), for allegedly diverting funds with the help of JP Morgan.
Lending credence to the findings of the court-appointed forensic auditors, the bench had noted that the global merchant bank invested Rs 85 crore in Amrapali Zodiac Developers Pvt Ltd, a group company, in violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and foreign direct investment norms.
The shares were later sold for Rs 140 crore to firms owned by an office boy and a nephew of Amrapali auditor Anil Mittal, according to the forensic audit.
“They (Amrapali directors) have obtained investment from JP Morgan in violation of FEMA and FDI norms. The shares were overvalued for making payment to JP Morgan," the court had earlier stated, adding it was adopted as a device for siphoning off the money of the homebuyers to foreign countries.
The audit, ordered in 2018, also revealed that JP Morgan knew that Amrapali Zodiac was diverting money received from homebuyers to the other group companies. "This company has been used as a tool to transfer the money to other Amrapali Group companies," the court said, calling it an "organised fraud".
The court-monitored probe against the US investment bank looks into charges of illegally routing money in violation of FEMA and FDI norms through dummy companies, fake bills, paying dividend without generating profits, and by overvaluing shares.
Any criminal charges can be filed only in trial court after the ED obtains a go ahead from the apex court following its investigation.
The order was passed in connection with a batch of cases filed by homebuyers, who took Amrapali to court over delays in completion of their apartments.
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