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No transferring, clubbing of criminal cases against Amrapali directors: SC

Why should we queer the pitch and make life difficult for the judge by clubbing the cases and sending them to one court, the bench said and dismissed the plea

Supreme Court

Supreme Court

Press Trust of India New Delhi
In a significant development, the Supreme Court Monday refused to order transfer and clubbing of over 80 criminal cases lodged by home buyers against directors and other officials of Amrapali group firms, saying it would not queer the pitch and make life difficult for a trial judge.
A bench headed by Justice Uday Umesh Lalit did not agree to the fervent submission of the counsel of Shiv Priya, one of the jailed officials of the real estate group, like coal scam cases, the trials in 85 criminal matters, which are of similar nature, can be transferred to one court from seven different courts in the national capital.
The bench, also comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and P S Narasimha, said the coal scam cases involved government servants as accused as well and moreover, the Prevention of Corruption Act provides for transfer and clubbing and this was not available in other statutes under which the former directors of the private firms are charged.
Every complainant will have different versions and it will create problems for the court. How does it help the cause of justice? The trial judge concerned will not be able to deliver the judgement. We cannot do that. There has to be a power where we can vest everything in one jurisdiction, the bench said.
When senior advocate Brijender Chahar, appearing for Shiv Priya, persisted with his submissions saying that the most of the complaints are of similar nature alleging cheating, the bench said the projects and the company involved could be different and it will not help the judge in conducting the trial.
It gave the example of a stock scam case involving Harshad Mehta and said that the special court was set under a law of Parliament.
The crux of all the FIRs is that the home buyers were cheated.
Why should we queer the pitch and make life difficult for the judge by clubbing the cases and sending them to one court, the bench said and dismissed the plea.
Shiv Priya alleged that he has been in jail for the last three years and charges have been framed in one case out of total 85 matters investigated by the Economic Offence Wing of Delhi police.
Meanwhile, the bench also dealt with the separate plea of Anil Kumar Sharma, jailed former CMD of Amrapali group, seeking relief on medical grounds and directed the Director, AIIMS, to set up a board of doctors to examine him and give a report to it.
In the circumstances, we direct that the petitioner (Sharma) be produced before a board consisting of medical professionals as the Director, AIIMS deems appropriate within two weeks from today and the copy of the order shall be transmitted to the Director, AIIMs so that a date for medical examination by the board can be fixed.., the bench said.
It asked the AIIMS to apprise the Mandawali prison authority to ensure the presence of Sharma before the medical board for examination on the date fixed.
The (medical) board may thereafter on such an examination make a report to this court within seven days of such an examination and list this matter on April 18 along with the report, the bench said, adding that it would decide the future course of action after perusing the medical report.
It has been alleged that Sharma has been facing some health conditions.
The apex court has been monitoring the case related to the real estate company after many homebuyers approached alleging malpractices and non-delivery of homes or flats. Former group directors of Amrapali Anil Kumar Sharma, Shiv Priya, and Ajay Kumar are behind bars on the top court's order.
Chander Prakash Wadhwa, jailed former chief financial officer (CFO) of Amrapali group and Anil Mittal, statutory auditor of the Amrapali group of companies were also arrested in connection with the case.
The arrested persons have allegedly been instrumental in creating a large number of bogus companies for diversion of funds of home buyers by employing persons known to them as directors or appointing them in key management posts in those companies.
The apex court in its July 23, 2019, verdict had cracked the whip on errant builders for breaching the trust reposed by home buyers and ordered the cancellation of the registration of the Amrapali Group under real estate law RERA and ousted it from prime properties in the NCR by nixing the land leases.
The apex court had directed a probe by the Enforcement Directorate into alleged money laundering by realtors, providing relief to over 42,000 home buyers of Amrapali Group with the verdict.
The Supreme Court, which is trying to bring in funds for the stalled projects, had then directed the state-run NBCC to complete the stalled projects of the Amrapali Group.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mar 21 2022 | 8:19 PM IST

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