SC orders sealing of 9 Amrapali properties in Noida, Greater Noida, Bihar

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered sealing of nine properties of the Amrapali group at Noida, Greater Noida and Bihar, where the documents relating to its 46 group companies are kept.
Of nine, seven properties are in Noida and Greater Noida, while two properties are situated in Rajgir and Buxar in Bihar.

The apex court said that only court-appointed forensic auditors and their authorised representatives can enter these premises.

A bench comprising Justice U.U. Lalit and Justice D. Y. Chandrachud also ordered that the three directors of Amrapali Group, who were sent to police custody on Tuesday for not complying with court orders of handing over all documents to court-appointed forensic auditors, be kept at the police station and not in the lock-up till these premises are sealed.

The three directors- Anil Kumar Sharma, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar on Wednesday approached the apex court saying that they should not be kept in lock-up and instead be kept in the police station or any other place.
The court also asked the directors to file an undertaking that no documents are kept at any other place except at these nine properties of the real estate firm. “The undertaking shall state that all the documents pertaining to 46 companies from 2007 to 2018 were handed over”, the bench added, while seeking the undertaking by Thursday.

“We direct the concerned police officers, Superintendents of Police of Noida/Greater Noida to take the three applicants to all the above mentioned seven places and in their presence, seal all the premises,” the court directed.

Advocate Alok Kumar Aggarwal, appearing for three directors told the bench that they were willing to hand over all the documents required by forensic auditors. “The documents required by the forensic auditors are kept at the seven plus two places and not any other place,” Aggarwal said.

In connection with the properties in Rajgir and Buxar in Bihar, the court said that representative of the real estate firm in the state will render all assistance in having these premises sealed.

“We direct the Superintendents of Police of the relevant districts of Rajgir and Buxar, State of Bihar, to immediately go to the places in question and seal the premises,” said the top court, adding that after the sealing of these properties, the keys be handed over to the registrar of the court.
The apex court further stated that “if the entire exercise of sealing the seven premises situated at Noida and Greater Noida is completed today (Wednesday), the presence of the three directors will not be insisted upon by the Police”.

“However, if the sealing of seven properties of Noida and Greater Noida was not completed, the present status will continue except that these applicants, instead of being put up in the lock-up, shall be kept in the police station itself,” ordered the top court.

It further sought compliance report of its order on Thursday, which is also the next date of hearing. The three directors were also asked to be presented by the police in the court on Thursday.
On Tuesday, the top court slammed the directors of the real estate major saying that the company was playing “hide and seek”.

Ravi Bhatia and Pawan Kumar Aggarwal, the two court-appointed forensic auditors who were asked to conduct a forensic audit of the firm, had informed the court that they have not yet received all the documents.

The petition against the group was filed by homebuyers, who alleged that they were neither given possession of apartments they paid for nor was the money returned to them. Approximately 42,000 home-buyers have been hassled by stalled Amrapali projects, with the real estate firm allegedly diverting around Rs 2700 crore acquired from the homebuyers for other projects.

The National Buildings Construction Company (NBCC) has been handed over the responsibility to oversee the completion of the stalled projects. NBCC has estimated Rs 8500 crore budget for the completion of the project.