In a major relief for over 40,000 home buyers who had put in their money in Amrapali group’s projects, the Supreme Court today (Tuesday, July 23) ordered the cancellation of the registration of Amrapali group of companies and directed the National Buildings and Construction Corporation (NBCC) to complete unfinished housing projects of the group.
The top court bench of Justices Arun Mishra and UU Lalit also further directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to investigate the group under the money laundering law for allegedly diverting homebuyers’ hard-earned money, media reports said.
Noting that homebuyers across the country are facing similar problems, the apex court asked the Centre and state governments to step in to protect the interests of homebuyers against real estate companies, reported The Times of India (TOI).
The bench pulled up lender banks and Noida authorities for breach of public trust for not acting in time while the homebuyers’ money was wiped out through illegal activities of the group.
It said that banks and authorities violated the doctrine of public trust by closing their eyes towards illegal activities of Amrapali group and their officials.
The court made it clear no other party can claim stake in housing projects of Amrapali as they belong to homebuyers and banks and Noida authorities can recover their money after the group’s other properties are sold through auction, the TOI reported.
In February, the court had given a green signal to arrest the directors of the group on the basis of allegations of diverting funds collected from homebuyers to other companies.
The order had then come on the basis of an application filed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Economic Offences Wing, Delhi Police, for their arrest and custody.
The court had directed the police to investigate the “entire gamut of the scenario of the various projects, as projected in this case and various orders passed and investigate the entire matter”.
The court had held that it prima facie found that the case required serious investigation in the facts projected by the directors, the CFO and the statutory auditors.
During the hearings, the court observed that the group had committed “serious fraud” by diverting homebuyers’ money from one company to another.