17 January 2019: Crores of unaccounted money was invested in various housing projects of the Amrapali Group which sold flats at ‘throwaway’ prices on paper but received black money in cash from the buyers, the Supreme Court was told on Wednesday.
The SC-appointed forensic auditors, who were asked to audit all 46 companies of the Group to track diversion of Rs 3000 crore of homebuyers’ money, informed the court that they have so far unearthed 655 cases in which flats were sold at a price much lower than the prevailing market price and the Group received around Rs 159 crore of unaccounted
money from buyers in cash.
The forensic auditors -Ravi Bhatia and Pawan Kumar Aggarwal -said in some cases flats worth lakhs of rupees were booked at the rate of Re 1 per square feet and they have sought explanation from such home-buyers. The Supreme Court-appointed forensic auditors said that letters were sent to 655 such buyers.
Appearing before a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit, the auditors said they stumbled upon many benami homebuyers during their probe. The court said it will not protect such dubious buyers and their flats will be attached and sold to raise money to complete the housing projects to protect the interests of genuine buyers who have invested their hard earned money to buy home.
Bhatia said in his report that diversion of homebuyers’ money is to the tune of more than Rs 3,000 crore as accepted by the Group and told the court that the directors and promoters were given crores of rupees out of home-buyers’ money which should be recovered from them.
“As per financial statements and the books of accounts scrutinised by us upto March 31, 2015 for the 23 companies, a sum of Rs 2761.49 crore has been diverted to other projects, other group companies, directors and their relatives and senior employees.
Loans/advances have been made to various parties which are not being recovered for long and outstanding as on March 31, 2015 amounted to Rs 119.04 crore,” the report said.
The report said homebuyers’ money was used by top officials of the Group for personal purposes instead of investing it for construction work.
It said Group chairman Anil Sharma was paid Rs 6.55 crore out of the funds received and the amount should be recovered from him. “It has been further observed that Rs 113.28 crore were given as loans to directors of Amrapali Infrastructure Pvt Ltd during the period 2009-11 and that amount should also be recovered from them with interest,” the report said.
Advocate M L Lahoty, appearing for thousands of home-buyers, contended that the court should take immediate action against them for cheating and send them behind bars.