New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed state-run NBCC to develop stalled projects of the Amrapali Group, and directed the Debt Recovery Tribunal to sell the unencumbered commercial properties of the real estate firm.
The top court directed the opening of an escrow account in the apex court in which the amount received after the sale of properties would be deposited and later disbursed to the National Buildings Construction Corporation Ltd (NBCC) to start construction of the pending projects in Group A and B Categories.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit also directed that documents and details, including bank accounts and balance sheets of all 46 companies, including Jotindra Steel, since 2008 should be given to the forensic auditors. “NBCC is appointed to develop the projects and preparation of Detail Projects Report. It can also find out the consortium of banks ready to finance the projects,” the bench said and cautioned the NBCC, saying “once we put the projects in your basket, you can’t shrug off the responsibility of completing them. We will bind you with it”.
The court granted liberty to the Amrapali Group to hold talks with banks, HUDCO and other financial institutions for financing the construction of stalled projects. The court noted that Rs 1,590 crore can be generated from the sale of unsold inventory and said “Dharmendra Singh Rathore, officer of the DRT is entrusted with the sale of properties mentioned in the list of commercial properties”.
It said there could be some encumbrances of Noida and Greater Noida on these properties, which would be paid at a later stage and Amrapali should provide all necessary details, including title deeds, dues and encumbrances to the DRT officer.
The bench also questioned the Amrapali Group on why it had not filed Income Tax returns since 2015 and what its in-house auditors were doing regarding non-filing of returns. Advocate Gaurav Bhatia, appearing for Amrapali, said due to the litigations, tax returns were not filed. “They have not filed income tax returns. We want to know each and every fact as to where the money has gone, what has been done with the money, but you (Amrapali) have kept everything in a fluid state,” according to the Bench.
It said an auditor was supposed to act as a watchdog of the company and should say, “if you don’t give me the required papers, then I will put down my papers”.
The Bench directed Rs 5 lakh to be transferred to the DRT from the frozen bank account of Amrapali and said representatives of the real estate firm should assist the DRT officer to sell the properties. It directed Amrapali Group Chairman and Managing Director Anil Sharma to withdraw his affidavit giving details of assets and why properties worth Rs 847.88 crore had come to Rs 67 crore in a span of four years.
The NBCC had given a proposal for completion of 15 residential projects of Amrapali having 46,575 flats at an estimated cost of Rs 8,500 crore in 6 to 36 months.