New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sent three directors of real estate group Amrapali to police custody for failing to submit documents relating to accounts of all 46 group companies to forensic auditors appointed by it.
The court directed the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh police to seize all necessary documents and at the same time asked the real estate group to furnish the documents to auditors within 24 hours.
The three directors—Anil Kumar Sharma, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar—were present in court at the hearing and will not be released until the documents are provided.
Lashing out at Amrapali for not cooperating, a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and U.U. Lalit held the directors to be in “gross violation" of its earlier orders.
Justice Mishra asked the company to comply with its orders and not play hide and seek with the court. “I hope they will cooperate now," he remarked.
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 on 12 September
The amount 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.
A total of 107 homebuyers approached the Supreme Court challenging a September order of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) that admitted Bank of Baroda’s insolvency petition against Amrapali’s Silicon City project in Noida.
Home buyers have sought quashing of the September order and 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.
Money owed to homebuyers should be treated on par with debt owed to creditors specified under the code and should not be subjected to liquidation proceedings of discriminatory nature, the petition stated.
Homebuyers belong to the low- and middle-income groups and must be granted equal protection as other stakeholders, financial and operational creditors, it said.
On 4 September, NCLT admitted insolvency proceedings against Amrapali 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. This was under challenge by home buyers in the top court.
PTI contributed to this story.