The Supreme Court on Monday said its number one priority is to ensure that every Amrapali homebuyer gets a flat.
A bench of Justices U U Lalit and Bela M Trivedi was told by the court receiver, senior advocate R Venkataramani, that initially they have issued a list of around 8,000 flats which were not claimed by any buyer or which were booked under bogus names or were undervalued.
“Since then around 4,000 claimants came forward and we are in process of finalising their agreements. Around 4,000 flats still remain and we hope in the next two weeks or ten days more people may come forward and eventually 3,000 such flats would remain. These flats will be treated as unsold inventory and will be auctioned to generate more funds,” Venkataramani said.
The bench told one of the homebuyers aggrieved by not getting specification of the flat, “For us, our number one priority is that we want a roof for every Amrapali homebuyer. We are not going to get diverted by nitty-gritty.”
It asked the homebuyer to not mention the matter for hearing for next six months.
The bench was told by Venkataramani that till now over Rs 900 crore has been paid by the homebuyers as per the scheduled payment plan and more needs to be paid.
“Around Rs 700 crore worth of properties was sold at undervalue and we are trying to work it out with the homebuyers, whom we have been able to trace. Around 300-500 cases of multiple allotments were spotted, whose verification is underway,” he said.
The bench said that homebuyers need to pay whatever they are liable for even as it goes after big defaulters who have allegedly siphoned off hundreds of crores of homebuyers’ money.
“As we go after them (big defaulters), we also want to see what lies on the other side of the horizon and whatever outstanding amount the homebuyers are to pay, it should be paid,” the bench said, adding this would ensure speedy completion of flats.
At the outset, the Reserve Bank of India moved an application seeking modification of an order passed in August last year, where the top court had banned the accounts of homebuyers to be declared as Non-Performing Assets.
Senior advocate KV Viswanathan, appearing for RBI, said a blanket ban on declaration of NPAs is not justified and said that banks’ funding arrangement of Amrapali projects is not appropriate as there are no sovereign guarantees.
“Ultimately these are depositors’ money and if such an arrAmrapaliangement is allowed to continue it would prejudice the stakeholders,” he said, adding that there is a process in place and NPAs are red-flagged but this order of last August is coming in the way.
Venkataramani and the counsel appearing for consortium of banks said that all along RBI remained present in the proceedings and they did not object earlier and now they are coming with excuses which would not only derail and delay the funding process, which have now come into existence.
“RBI did not come forward when everything was done and they have come now when the banks have come forward with their funding plans,” Venkataramani said.
The bench said that the court receiver and a top official of the RBI who can take decisions on its own and representatives of banks will hold a meeting on March 23 at 6 pm in the office of Venkataramani to sort out the grievances.
Venkataramni said that out of seven banks in the consortium, six banks have finalised their proposals for infusing of funds while Indian Bank will be finalising the proposal for funding in a couple of days.
Senior advocate Siddharth Dave, appearing for NBCC, said that fund crunch is causing delay in the execution of stalled projects.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing on March 28.
On March 7, the top court was told that Bank of Baroda which is leading a six-bank consortium has infused Rs 300 crore.
The top court had directed the other banks of the consortium to release the balance amount of Rs 1,200 crore before the next date of hearing.
On February 21, the NBCC assured the top court that the construction of stalled projects of Amrapali Group will be of good quality and independent experts will assess the safety and quality standards.
The NBCC had earlier told the top court that at present, 10 projects in Noida and 12 projects in Greater Noida are under execution involving 45,957 units with a sanctioned project cost of Rs 8,025.78 crore.
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.
Former group directors of Amrapali — Anil Kumar Sharma, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar — are in prison on the top court’s order.
The court had directed a probe by the Enforcement Directorate into alleged money laundering by realtors, providing relief to over 42,000 homebuyers of Amrapali Group with the verdict.
The top 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.