Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of Arun Mishra and UU Lalit, JJ directed the banks and financial institutions to release loans to home buyers of Amrapali Group, whose loans have been sanctioned, notwithstanding the fact that their accounts are declared as Non-Performing Assets (NPAs).

“Let there be restructuring of the loan amount. It may be released under the current norms of the RBI for releasing loans and the rates fixed by the RBI therefor.”

The Court further said that the disbursement of further loans may be based on the present rate of interest fixed by the RBI; this we order in the peculiar facts of the case. It may be released stage-wise and long-term restructuring of the loans may be done so that construction is completed and buyers are able to repay the loan.

Earlier, ASG Vikramjit Banerjee had submitted before the Court that that RBI instructions do not come in the way of releasing home buyers’ loans whose accounts are NPAs and that the banks were ready to release the loan to the home buyers.

Considering the fact that the housing projects have been stalled for the last several years, the Court noticed that the home buyers have obtained loans but cannot enjoy the fruits of their investment. At the same time, if projects are not completed and home buyers are not sure of handing over of flats, it would be difficult for them to pay bank dues till eternity and it is in the interest of home buyers as well as banks and financial institutions as they can recover money when projects are completed in an effective manner.

On Interest to be realized on the outstanding dues by Noida and Greater Noida Authorities

Receiver submitted before the Court that there is a lack of clarity concerning dues of local authorities/banks/lenders and that proper relaxations and concessions are required to be given concerning such dues. It was also submitted before the Court that the projects are incomplete, there were various litigations which created a huge financial impact and non-delivery of projects, which reflects the pathetic condition of the real estate sector. The developers and the home buyers both are adversely affected due to non-delivery of booked flats in the regions of Noida and Greater Noida etc.

Considering the current state of real estate, the projects are standstill, and in order to give impetus to such housing projects and mainly considering plight of home buyers and as pointed out by Noida and Greater Noida Authorities that 114 plots were allotted from 2005 onwards, most of projects are incomplete, the Court directed:

  • Rate of interest on the outstanding premium and other dues to be realized in all such cases at the rate of 8% per annum and the Noida and Greater Noida Authorities should do a restructuring of the repayment schedule so that amount is paid and Noida and Greater Noida Authorities are able to realize the same.
  • In case of failure to pay, the concession granted shall stand withdrawn.
  • Noida and Greater Noida Authorities shall also ensure that not only instalments/money are deposited, but also all such projects are completed within the stipulated time.

On NBCC’s scope of responsibilities and legal immunity

The Court directed that NBCC is immune from any legal actions for any existing disputes involving and in relation to the Amrapali Projects.

“we request the Courts/ Consumer Redressal Commission and other authorities not to permit impleadment of NBCC as respondent and not to issue summons to NBCC as they are doing the work under the supervision of this Court and are not answerable to any other court, tribunal, authorities.”

It further directed that NBCC is granted immunity to be sued in any other court or commission, and they are answerable to Supreme Court only in the pending proceedings. Thus, they cannot be dragged in the litigation filed by existing home buyers, previous contractors, co-developers, landowners, banks, financial institutions, other lenders and creditors, and any Government authorities before any other Court/ Commission or Authority.

It is also made clear that NBCC is not responsible for attending to queries made by the home buyers. They have to report the progress to the Receiver, who then, has to put progress reports of projects on the blog/website.

[Bikram Chatterjee v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 494 , decided on 10.06.2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of Arun Mishra and UU Lalit, JJ has cancelled the registration of Amrapali Group of Companies under RERA for defrauding homebuyers. The Court also cancelled the various lease deeds granted in favour of Amrapali Group of Companies by Noida and Greater Noida Authorities for projects in question.

“Because of their failure to fulfil the obligations towards the buyers and the serious kind of fraud which has been played by them upon the home buyers, the registration of Amrapali group of companies under the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act, 2016 deserves to be cancelled.”

The Court noticed that no accounts were prepared w.e.f. the years 2015-2018 and money withdrawn was diverted during the said period. The Statutory Auditor, Anil Mittal failed in duty and was part of fraudulent activities as found in the Forensic Report. The money obtained from banks was diverted to unapproved uses such as for the creation of personal assets of Directors, creation of assets in closely held companies by the Directors along with their partners and relatives, for personal expenses of Directors, to give advances without carrying interest for several years. There was total non-monitoring by the bankers.

“The Noida and Greater Noida Authorities were grossly negligent in reviewing and monitoring the progress of the projects and in collusion with leaseholders failed to take action concerning nonpayment of dues and illegally permitted the group to sub-lease the land without payment of dues. Bogus allotments of flats were made. There were other irregularities galore.”

Below are some of the important directions issued by the Court,

  • Noida and Greater Noida Authorities shall have no right to sell the flats of the home buyers or the land leased out for the realization of their dues. Their dues shall have to be recovered from the sale of other properties which have been attached. The direction holds good for the recovery of the dues of the various Banks also.
  • NBCC has been appointed to complete the various projects and hand over the possession to the buyers. The percentage of commission of NBCC is fixed at 8 percent.
  • The home buyers are directed to deposit the outstanding amount under the Agreement entered with the promoters within 3 months from today in the Bank account opened in UCO Bank in the Branch of this Court. The amount deposited by them shall be invested in the fixed deposit to be disbursed under the order of this Court on phase-wise completion of the projects/work by the NBCC.
  • Various Companies/ Directors and other incumbents in whose hands money of the home buyers is available as per the report of Forensic Auditors, should deposit the same in the Court within one month. The last opportunity of one month is granted to deposit the amount and to do the needful failing which appropriate action shall be taken against them.
  • Concerned Ministry of Central Government, as well as the State Government and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, should ensure that appropriate action is taken as against leaseholders concerning such similar projects at Noida and Greater Noida and other places in various States, where projects have not been completed.
  • Senior Advocate R. Venkataramani has been appointed as the Court Receiver. The right of the lessee shall vest in the Court Receiver and he shall execute through authorized person on his behalf, the tripartite agreement and do all other acts as may be necessary and also to ensure that title is passed on to home buyers and possession is handed over to them.
  • Noida and Greater Noida Authorities are also directed to execute the tripartite agreement within one month concerning the projects where homebuyers are residing and issue completion certificate notwithstanding that the dues are to be recovered under this order by the sale of the other attached properties. Registered conveyance deed shall also be executed in favour of homebuyers, they are to be placed in the possession and they shall continue to do so in future on completion of projects or in part as the case may be.

The Court also said,

“In view of the finding recorded by the Forensic Auditors and fraud unearthed, indicating prima facie violation of the FEMA and other fraudulent activities, money laundering, we direct Enforcement Directorate and concerned authorities to investigate and fix liability on persons responsible for such violation and submit the progress report in the Court and let the police also submit the report of the investigation made by them so far.”

It also directed the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India to initiate the appropriate disciplinary action against Anil Mittal, CA for his conduct as reflected in various transactions and the findings recorded in the order and his overall conduct as found on Forensic Audit. The proceedings are to be completed within 6 months.

[Bikram Chatterjee v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 901, decided on 23.07.2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of Arun Mishra and U.U Lalit, JJ., in an order directed the police authorities to take in custody the directors of “Amrapali Group” as mentioned till the time all the documents as asked by the Supreme Court in its earlier order are handed over to the Forensic auditors.

The brief facts pertaining to the present order are that the Apex Court in its earlier order had repeatedly asked the “Amrapali Group of Companies” to hand over its original documents of accounts which they failed to do. In the earlier orders of the Supreme Court it was clearly stated and directed that all the account books, original documents etc. to be handed over to the forensic auditors, not only by the “Amrapali Group of Companies” but also those which were in possession of the statutory auditors.

The Supreme Court by looking at the non-compliance and violation of its earlier orders and justice being thwarted observed that “it is not only deliberate non-compliance of the order but effort is being made to fritter away the documents”. Therefore, the police authorities are directed to seize all the documents and to handover the documents to the forensic auditors after seizing them from the possession of 46 companies and their directors.

The Court also issued a notice to the contemnor-directors in order to show cause why proceedings for contempt be not initiated against them. It was again made clear that not even one single paper will remain with the auditors and directors of the Amrapali Group of Companies as all the documents to be handed over by the police to the forensic auditors.

The matter is listed for further hearing on 24-10-2018. [Bikram Chatterji v. Union of India, WP (C) No. 940 of 2017, Order dated 09-10-2018]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of Arun Mishra and UU Lalit, JJ., in an order to the real estate major Amrapali Group stated that the Supreme Court would sell “each and every property” of the firm in order to recover the cost of construction of all the pending projects.

The Supreme Court also sought within 15 days a valuation report of movable and immovable properties of groups managing directors and directors. Further, the Court asked for the submission of companies details that were engaged in looking after the maintenance of Amrapali projects along with the details of its serving directors and those who have left the Amrapali group since the year 2008.

In an earlier order by the Supreme Court had directed the Amrapali group to place the details of all the bank accounts since the year 2008 till present and ordered freezing the bank accounts of directors of its 40 firms.

[Source: PTI]