Amrapali Group row: Supreme Court orders sealing of 9 properties
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the sealing of nine properties of embattled real estate company Amrapali after its three directors, who are in police custody, said that the documents related to the group's 46 firms were stored there.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the sealing of nine properties of embattled real estate company Amrapali after its three directors, who are in police custody, said that the documents related to the group's 46 firms were stored there. The three directors moved an application before a bench comprising Justices U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud stating that they were willing to hand over all the documents but the police was unaware about which one needed to be seized.
The court's order came a day after three directors of the group -- Anil Kumar Sharma, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar -- were ordered to be taken into police custody and the firm was castigated for playing "hide and seek" with the court by not complying with its orders to hand over all the documents to the forensic auditors.
These directors told the bench that documents related to Amrapali's 46 group companies were kept in seven locations at Noida and Greater Noida and two premises -- Rajgir and Buxar districts in Bihar. "We direct the concerned police, Superintendent of Police of Noida and Greater Noida to seal all the seven premises in the presence of these directors," the bench said. "We direct the Superintendent of Police of Rajgir and Buxar to immediately go to these (two) places and seal it," the bench said.
It further directed that after the sealing of these nine premises, the keys be handed over to the registrar of the apex court. The bench also made it clear that only the court-appointed forensic auditors -- Ravi Bhatia and Pawan Kumar Aggarwal -- and persons authorised by them would enter these premises after they were sealed. The court also asked the three directors to furnish an undertaking before it by tomorrow stating that all the documents were available at these nine premises only and not a single document was lying at any other place.
The three directors also told the bench that they be kept at police station and not in the lock up during this period. "If the entire exercise of sealing of these seven premises at Noida and Greater Noida will be completed today, the presence of these three applicants will not be insisted upon by the police," the bench said. "If the exercise will not be completed, the present status will continue," the bench said and asked the Delhi Police to keep these three directors at the police station but not in the lock up.
The bench said that compliance report of its order be placed before the court and directed that the three directors would also remain present before it tomorrow. The bench noted the submissions of the counsel appearing for the three directors that the group has received e-mail from the forensic auditors indicating the documents required by them. The directors also told the court that company wise list of all bank accounts were available till 2015 and after that, raw data was available with them and they would hand over all the documents in entirety.
The bench directed that its order be telephonically communicated to the Superintendent of Police of Rajgir and Buxar so that they could take appropriate steps. The court is seized of a batch of petitions filed by home buyers who are seeking possession of around 42,000 flats booked in projects of the Amrapali group. During the hearing, the counsel appearing for the home buyers told the bench that the auditors have given the list of documents required by them and the group should hand over, year wise and company wise, the documents of all their firms.
"We will ensure the presence of these three persons (directors) whenever the forensic auditors want," the bench said, adding, "The basic idea is to have the documents. We will have the forensic auditors tomorrow to know about the modalities and how would they like to proceed". The two auditors, appointed by the court to conduct forensic audit of Amrapali Group, had yesterday told the court that they have not yet received all the documents.
The bench had noted that as per the two auditors, documents of only two out of 46 firms - Amrapali Zodiac and Amrapali Princely Estates - were handed over to them despite court's order to provide all documents. The court had also issued notice to all these companies and their directors asking why contempt proceedings be not initiated against them.
It had also directed that other directors of the firm shall surrender their passport to the police and would not leave the country.