Implementation of Amrapali judgement, a big legal hurdle

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New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) The recent Supreme Court judgement in the case related to the aggrieved 42,000 Amrapali homebuyers could be treated as a precedent to streamline incomplete housing projects, a mess created by real estate developers across the country.

The top court ordered ED to probe the alleged money laundering by realtors and appointed the state-run National Buildings Construction Corporation, as a project management consultant, to complete the unfinished projects.

However, this judgement is not the end to the Amrapali housing scam. Instead, it is the beginning of an administrative jugglery and legal hurdles, which would apparently emerge during the implementation of this judgement.

The top court has played a leading role in sorting out the complex legal hurdles, which barred time-bound completion of the incomplete Amrapali housing projects.

It cancelled the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) registration of the Amrapali Group and appointed senior advocate R. Venkataramani as a court receiver, who supposedly has to work like a real estate group does – managing the accounts, administration, registration of flats etc.

It is not yet clear, how the court receiver will handle nearly 8000 registrations in the Amrapali housing projects. Will he engage the services of NBCC or appoint a team of his own?

The court authorized the receiver to control all the affairs related to the Amrapali Group’s projects.

“The court has tasked the court receiver to supervise the future roadmap on the timely completion of housing projects,” said Kumar Mihir, Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court, who represented a large group of homebuyers.

He, however, added that there is no clarity on functioning of the court receiver. “If he were to engage an agency to carry out the mammoth task of a real estate company, or appoint people – both are cost intensive. And, how will he pay for these services?”

Another legal aspect in the matter is the money paid out to various people whom the court has identified receivers of contentious payments from Amrapali Group.There is a high probability that these people will legally contest the apex court’s claims.

“Chances are very slim apparently regarding the money from third parties. They will claim it is legal money paid against their services. It will be a protracted legal battle,” Mihir added.

One of the most tedious tasks before the court receiver is the role of an agency to execute the registry after occupancy certificates are issued by the Noida or Greater Noida authorities, and also to address grievances related to the registration process.

This has to be followed up with the exact dues of the homebuyers in connection with possession of flats in the housing project.

The court has ordered opening of an escrow account with the UCO Bank in the apex court premises, but the biggest challenge is to manage in-flow and out-flow of funds from this account.

As per the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) survey, Rs 8,500 crore is required to complete the unfinished flats.

According to a lawyer in the case, about Rs 6,492 crore can be raised by funding from homebuyers and selling the remaining flats. But, Rs 2,008 crore is the shortfall, which has to accounted properly, besides land dues of Rs 6000 crore of Noida and Greater Noida authorities.

The top-management of the housing group splurged homebuyers’ funds on gold, luxury watches, weddings, personal assets, lawyers and celebrity fee etc.

In February 2019, the top court ordered Delhi police to arrest Amrapali Group directors for cheating and duping homebuyers.

(Sumit saxena can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

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