Business Standard

SC allows I-T, EOW to access forensic report on Amrapali; fund diversion put at Rs 3.5k cr


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The embattled Amrapali group has diverted over Rs 3,500 crore of home buyers money to different projects, the forensic auditors Tuesday told the Supreme Court which allowed the I-T department and the EOW to access their fresh report.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit was told by two forensic auditors -- Pawan Agrawal and Ravi Bhatia -- that they have received notices from I-T department and the Economic Offence Wing seeking the audit report as also their presence to explain the same.
The top court, which accepted the report, allowed the forensic auditors to share a copy with the investigating agencies.
"It is brought to our notice that Commissioner of Police, Economic Offences Wing requires Report of the Forensic Auditors. We permit the Forensic Auditors to furnish the Report to the Economic Offences Wing but they shall not be summoned for any purpose whatsoever to aid in the investigation," the bench said.
The top court said that the case has to see the "light of the day" and directed the Amrapali Group to file its reply within a day or two to the reports submitted by forensic auditors.
Agrawal pointed to a recent order passed by Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), which has been asked by the court to auction the attached and unencumbered properties of Amrapali Group -- in which some adverse remarks were made against the court appointed auditors.
"DRT has passed an order day before yesterday seeking our presence and said that we (Agrawal and Bhatia) were hampering the progress of the case," he told the bench which said that it will clarify the order of DRT and would exempt them from appearing before the tribunal.
"The DRT is requested not to assume that Forensic Auditors are hampering the auction proceedings. They are rather assisting this Court in the entire process and we appreciate the able assistance rendered by them," the bench said in its order.
Forensic auditors in their fresh supplementary report pointed out that till now they have detected that over Rs 3,500 crore of home buyers money was diverted by Amrapali Group through different companies to other projects.
They said that promoters of Amrapali did not invested a single penny in real estate firm and home buyers money was used for the construction of high rise buildings.
They pointed out that there were irregularities in the sale of Amrapali's hotel in Bareilly of Uttar Pradesh while in actuality the property was not sold.
Agrawal also pointed out that funds over Rs 400 crore were diverted through three companies Bihariji Highrise Pvt Ltd, Jotindra Steel and Tubes Ltd and Mauria Udyog Ltd.
"Surekha family, which owned Jotindra Steel and Mauria Udyog were running the show of Amrapali after 2015 and were also involved in diversion of home buyers money. Surekha family members were authorised signatory for Amrapali and were also directors in each of the group companies," the auditors said.
The bench, then asked the counsel appearing for Jotindra Steel and Tubes Ltd, and Mauria Udyog Ltd to file affidavit on behalf of Akhil Sureka, Managing Director, M/s. Jotindra Steel and Tubes Ltd., and Navneet Sureka, Managing Director of M/s. Mauria Udyog Ltd by tomorrow.
The auditors further pointed out that irregularities were also detected in the sale of a hotel owned by Amrapali in Deoghar in Jharkhand.
Agrawal said that property in Deoghar was sold for around Rs 18 crore out of which the buyer cleared Rs 7 crore loan liability of Amrapali and Rs 10.82 crores were paid in the month of June, 2018, when the matter was subjudice in the court.
"This payment of Rs 10.82 crore was paid through demand draft in the name of Amrapali. Incidentally, entry of this amount cannot be found in any of the book of accounts of Amrapali ," he said.
They said the funds were diverted through bogus bills, advance payments to directors and high ranking officials of the Group and through ghost bookings of flats.
The day-long hearing in the matter remained inconclusive and the bench asked the forensic auditor to file a summary compilation of final and supplementary report.
On February 28, the apex court had allowed the Delhi police to arrest and interrogate in custody Amrapali group CMD Anil Sharma and two directors on a complaint that home-buyers of their various housing projects were cheated and duped of their funds.
The top court, which is seized of several pleas of home-buyers seeking possession of around 42,000 flats booked in projects of the Amrapali group, also ordered attachment of personal properties of the CMD and directors -- Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar.
The trio, under detention of the Uttar Pradesh police and kept in a hotel at Noida since October 9 last year by the apex court for not complying with its orders, was in for a shock when the court ordered the arrest on a plea by Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police saying that it wanted to quiz them in a separate cheating case.
The court had also appointed a valuer to ascertain the exact value of 5,229 unsold flats including those booked by Amrapali for just Rs 1, Rs 11 and Rs 12 and asked the valuer to submit its report.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: Apr 30 2019 | 9:10 PM IST

Explore News