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Pay Up To Possess: SC To Amrapali Buyers

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A division Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice UU Lalit has directed a joint meeting to be convened between NBCC Receiver and SBI caps, also asking SBI caps to float a company who will collaborate with NBCC and undertake construction work, funding being with SBI caps. Forensic experts to share all documents with SBI caps and assist them.

The Court has also asked the UCO bank in Delhi to takeover some unsold inventory as security and deposit 2000 crore, and prepare a proposal within 7 days and place it before the court. 

During the hearing, Harish Salve appearing for Salve for SBI caps stated that for the projects, homebuyers should be asked to make some deposit so its known that they are serious about it. SBI caps will float separate company to finance project. The receiver informed the Bench that UCO Bank wishes to have a conference with SBI caps to work out the financial modalities, as UCO bank is inclined to look at unsold inventories.

Justice Mishra stated that UCO bank can bargain with SBI Caps, and go for one lender and not money. He also added that buyers will have to pay, and they will not get possession if they do not pay.

Justice Arun Mishra in the last hearing had stated that Homebuyers should not be under the impression that without paying they will enjoy benefits of the property.

“Let us do something pragmatic in a step wise manner, for now. Do not invite our wrath, Mr Lahoty.” Justice Mishra had said to Senior Advocate Lahoty appearing for the homebuyers. 

Supreme Court in its last hearing had heard several intervention applications in the Amrapali matter, and had reserved its order on three specific issues including:

• The functioning of projects by State Banks

• If surplus FARs be sold to raise funds or be returned to the Noida/Greater Noida Authorities

• If additional compensation be granted to the Greater Noida authorities.

The Apex Court had previously also allowed the enforcement directorate to attach properties of JP Morgan in Amrapali case after being informed that Rs 187 crore have been detected as proceeds of crime. The order was passed while taking hearing note of the receiver appointed for execution of the Amrapali group housing projects urging the Court to issue urgent orders to the Reserve Bank of India for an advisory asking all banks and financial institutions to disburse balance loan amounts to Amrapali homebuyers in order to ensure that funds are available to complete the stalled projects.

The Supreme Court has been monitoring the execution and handover of the stalled Amrapali housing projects ever since an internal audit report, commissioned by the Court, found grave irregularities on part of Amrapali firms and its directors. The receiver was appointed to track the completion of the stalled projects and ensure that they are completely timely and handed over to the homebuyers.

The Supreme Court had passed its landmark judgement in the Amrapali case in 2019. The homebuyers of various projects who were aggrieved by the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process that was being initiated by the National Company Law Tribunal against Amrapali Silicon City Private Limited had filed writ petitions before the Supreme Court.

According to these homebuyers, if such resolution is started against Amrapali, the interest of thousands of homebuyers of various projects being developed by the Amrapali group will be drastically effected. Other than this, there also were allegations of funds siphoning by Amrapali group, and therefore Supreme Court had taken cognizance of the matter and ordered a forensic audit to be conducted. The Amrapali group had challenged the pleas of the homebuyers. The petitions were also challenged by the Banks who had financed loan to the Amrapali Group under various mortgage deeds and the Noida and Greater Noida Authorities, with whom the Group had executed lease deed for lands on which the projects had to be developed. According to them, their rights over the projects should be priorities over the homebuyers.

The Supreme Court had ordered the cancellation of registration of Amrapali Group under RERA Act, and the projects were ordered to be completed by NBCC India Pvt Ltd. The Banks were given no right to sell the flats of home buyers or the land that was leased out, to get their own dues. The Banks were asked to realise their dues only from sale of the properties of Amrapali Group. All the lease deeds that were granted to Amrapali Group were cancelled and the Court receiver was given the rights of the lessee, who had to execute all the agreements and ensure that title is passed on to homebuyers and possession is handed over to them.

Read the order here;

Writ-Petition-Civil-940-2017-03-06-2020

-India Legal Bureau

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