Supreme Court extends police custody of Amrapali directors by 15 days
Amrapali Group directors Anil Kumar Sharma, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar will be kept in a hotel in Noida and allowed restricted mobile use
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday extended by another 15 days police custody of three directors of real estate group Amrapali to ensure smooth recovery of documents related to group companies.
The three directors—Anil Kumar Sharma, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar—will be held at a hotel in Noida and their usage of mobile phones will be restricted.
The court ordered the directors to be personally present from 8am to 6pm every day to cooperate with the sorting of documents by the forensic auditors at the sealed locations. It also called for supervision by the Uttar Pradesh Police at these premises while the work is on. After finishing one sealed location, the auditors shall move to the next one. The order comes a day after nine premises of the real estate group where documents related to its group companies were kept were sealed on directions of the top court.
Putting the forensic auditors in charge, the court had said that only they and their authorized representatives could enter the sealed premises to get the documents for the due diligence process.
The directors had approached the court asking to be held in custody in a guest house. However, the court had allowed them to be held at a police station and not in a lock-up. On 9 October, the top court sent the Amrapali directors to police custody for failing to submit documents relating to accounts of all 46 group companies to the forensic auditors appointed by it.
The Delhi and Uttar Pradesh police were directed to seize all documents. The court had, at the same time, asked the real estate group to furnish the documents to auditors within 24 hours.
On 26 September, the court directed government-owned NBCC (India) Ltd to conduct due diligence of all Amrapali projects to develop its stalled projects. NBCC was expected to float tenders to appoint contractors to complete the unfinished projects.
The court had also ordered Amrapali to submit all documents of properties, including bank accounts and balance sheets of the 46 group companies, before the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) while appointing NBCC to develop the stalled projects.
The money received from selling properties will be deposited in the apex court’s escrow account and later disbursed to NBCC for completing stalled projects, the court held. NBCC had given a proposal for completion of 15 residential projects of Amrapali having 46,575 flats at an estimated cost of ₹8,500 crore in six to 36 months.
The real estate group has liabilities of about ₹3,000 crore to government agencies and owes more than ₹1,000 crore to about 10 banks. It needs about ₹3,000 crore to complete its ongoing projects.
On 4 September, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) admitted Bank of Baroda’s insolvency petition against Amrapali’s Silicon City project in Noida and appointed an interim resolution professional to manage the company.
Under the order, the tribunal had announced a moratorium prohibiting any fresh proceedings or continuation of any proceedings against Amrapali Silicon City.
A total of 107 homebuyers approached the Supreme Court challenging the NCLT order.
The home buyers have said the moratorium imposed under provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016, is violative of Article 14 (equality before law) of the Constitution.
Homebuyers belong to the low- and middle-income groups and must be granted equal protection as other stakeholders, financial and operational creditors, it said.
PTI contributed to this story.