SC to Amrapali: Ownership rights should be given to Noida and G. Noida authorities

New Delhi, May 8 : In a big relief for Amrapali home buyers — numbering nearly 46,000 — the Supreme Court on Wednesday said it may give ownership rights of all the group’s projects to authorities in Noida and Greater Noida to complete the construction and hand over the flats to the homeowners.

The top court has been contemplating various steps to safeguard the interest of the home buyers, who invested in the Amrapali Group.

The court took a serious note of diversion of funds, money invested by home buyers and the financial misconduct by the real estate group. The top court observed that the group had paid Noida and Greater Noida authorities a meagre 10 per cent of the value of the land and that the group still owed Rs 4,545 crore.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U.U. Lalit said Noida and Greater Noida authorities should get all the title deeds of the land allocated to the Amrapali projects.

These authorities had originally allotted the land for all the housing projects.

Advocates for homebuyers M.L. Lahoty and Anchit Sripat contended that lease of land should be terminated, and that the land should be handed over to Noida and Greater Noida authorities.

After learning about the dues of the authorities, the court said that “ownership of land and projects”, can be given to them.

The court observed that it has to prioritize the interest of the home buyers who invested their earning in the housing projects, and that banks and financial institutions should fight their battle on their own.

The home buyers are already in a fix as the construction in many projects has ceased.

The court noted that the home buyers have invested Rs 11,500 crore in the housing projects. As relief for the home buyers, the court said the authorities will be free to engage any renowned real estate developer, including government-owned NBCC, to complete and deliver the projects.

Earlier, NBCC, had refused to invest and demanded Rs 8500 crore. “You (Amrapali) are out now…They (authorities) can engage NBCC or other companies to complete the constructions,” the court said.

The court said the first right over the properties of the group will be of the home buyers, and not banks.

The properties are being auctioned on the direction of the court and money raised would be used for construction.

The court said: “You (Amrapali) are purely a developer. Neither a bank nor you can claim a stake in the construction completed so far. We will first take care of home buyers’ interest”.

The top court noted the forensic auditors’ findings indicating that the Amrapali promoters and the directors did not invest in the projects. The court said the group cannot claim any right on the projects.

“What is your (Amrapali) legal capacity to mortgage the properties to banks? Show the court one clause in the agreement that permits you to create a third party interest. How can you mortgage the construction done out of home buyers’ investment?” said the court.

The hearing will continue on May 10. The court will hear the contentions of banks as well as Noida and Greater Noida authorities.

/IANS

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