The Supreme Court warned the homebuyers of now defunct Amrapali Group on Wednesday that their unwillingness to pay the outstanding dues may lead to winding up of the stalled projects due to financial crunch.
The top court cleared the modalities by which the homebuyers can be put to notice for clearing outstanding amounts after being validated by the court receiver appointed by the apex court.
It observed that it would not allow the “ghost buyers”, who had purchased flats from Amrapali Group at a nominal price to step in by allowing them pay the outstanding amount and their registration of flats will be annulled.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit said, “If home buyers are not ready to pay their outstanding amount, then we will have to bundle up the projects”.
Advocate Shobha, appearing for a homebuyer, said that her project Amrapali Leisure Park falls under category-C, and as per the builder-buyer agreement the payment plan was linked to the construction.
“Till now nothing has been done on the ground and it would be unfair, if I am asked to pay the amount,” Shobha said.
The bench retorted, “If you don’t want to pay the money, then we will ask you to go home. If you want the construction to come up, then homebuyers will have to pay the outstanding money. Be ready to deposit the outstanding amount”.
It said that the project wise name of the homebuyers, whose payments are due, will be uploaded on the websites of UCO bank, Noida and Greater Noida authorities and would be later validated by the senior advocate R Venkataramani.
The bench said that after the court receiver validates the details of homebuyers on these websites, they will be put on notices to pay the outstanding amounts, which has been estimated by the forensic auditors to be around ₹3,600 crore.
It directed that a separate account be opened at the UCO Bank branch at the apex court, where the homebuyers could deposit their outstanding amount.
The court also issued notices to six banks–Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Syndicate Bank, Bank of India and Bank of Maharashtra — and directed that remaining installments of home buyers can be released on account of their home loans/property loans.
The top court, directed the two forensic auditors –Pawan Aggrawal and Ravi Bhatia — to complete the audit of two remaining projects, Heartbeat City and O2 Valley –of Amrapali Group, whose registration was scrapped by the apex court under the RERA Act, by September 30 to look into the irregularities committed by the group.
A forensic audit is a detailed audit of a company’s records to be used in a court of law.
“We want funds to come from where ever it is possible as we are under immense financial crunch to complete the stalled projects,” the bench said and asked the NBCC to sell of 5,229 unsold flats of Amrapali Group.
Granting a reprieve to a premier project Royal Golf Link City Projects at Greater Noida, which was injuncted earlier this year from creating any third party rights on its flats and villas, the bench directed it to pay around ₹66 crore by January 10 and lifted the injunction on 50 per cent of the properties.
The apex court had in February also attached 30 villas of the Royal Golf Link City Project, which were allegedly built on dubious transaction with Amrapali Group.
On August 26, the apex court had directed that a forensic audit report of Amrapali group be given to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Delhi Police and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in India (ICAI) for taking appropriate action against the company directors and auditors for allegedly siphoning off over ₹3,000 crore of home buyers’ money.
The bench had directed the Noida and Greater Noida authorities to set up a nodal cell to disburse completion certificate to the Amrapali home buyers and redressal of other related issues.
On July 23, the apex court had cracked its whip on errant builders for breaching the trust reposed by homebuyers and ordered cancellation of the registration of the Amrapali Group under the real estate law RERA, and ousted it from its prime properties in the NCR by nixing the land leases.
It had directed a fresh probe by the ED into alleged money laundering by realtors besides the investigation being done by EOW of Delhi Police.
It had directed the state-run NBCC to complete the stalled projects of the Amrapali Group, whose directors Anil Kumar Sharma, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar are behind the bars on the top court’s order.
It directed the Centre and states to ensure that projects are completed in a time-bound manner as contemplated in RERA and home buyers are not defrauded, and ordered the Noida and Greater Noida authorities to give completion certificate to the home buyers of Amrapali group who are already residing in various projects.
The top court also termed the sequence of events in Amrapali group a “shocking and surprising state of affairs” where such large-scale cheating has taken place and middle and poor class home buyers were duped and deprived of their hard-earned money.