Bank of Baroda nod to funding Amrapali projects, SC asks other banks to follow suit

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In a relief for several thousand home buyers, the Supreme Court on Monday directed the consortium of banks to follow the footsteps of Bank of Baroda, which has issued a sanction order to grant funding for the stalled Amrapali housing projects, and take a decision on funding Amrapali projects within two days.

A bench of Justices U.U. Lalit and Bela M. Trivedi noted that the Bank of Baroda has released an order, and directed the other members of the six-bank consortium, which also includes the State Bank of India, UCO Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bank of India, and Punjab and Sindh Bank to pass similar orders and release the funds for housing projects.

Counsel, representing one of the banks, submitted before the bench that banks are in the final stages of sanctioning and tomorrow or day after, the approval will be received by the court appointed-receiver. As counsel for State Bank of India sought more time from the court, Justice Lalit replied: “Do it in a day or two”.

The top court said it hopes the approval order is passed by the banks, since it is in the final stages, and emphasized that the money should be released by the banks before the next date of hearing.

Kumar Mihir, representing the home buyers, said: “Bank of Baroda has sanctioned Rs 300 crore for the funding of the stalled projects. We expect the total funding from the banks will be close to Rs 1,500 crore.

In its February 21 order, the top court had noted that Alok Kumar, advocate for UCO Bank, Bishwajit Dubey, advocate for Bank of Baroda, and Megha Karnwal, advocate for State Bank of India, have accepted that the banks concerned are in the process of reaching final stages of decisionA within a week’s time. The top court was informed that the matters will be concluded at the topmost levels of the banks, whereafter funding can immediately begin.

Senior advocate Siddhartha Dave, appearing for National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), submitted that his client has already put in more than Rs 109 crore and the situation requires immediate intervention.

The top court order said: “Considering the circumstances on record and with a view to ensure steady flow of funds, we direct the members of the Consortium of Banks to place on record their final decisions within seven days from today and to start effecting the funding within a week thereafter so that at least Rs 300 crore are released by way of first tranche on or before March 15, 2022.”

The top court-appointed receiver, senior advocate R. Venkataramani, had informed the top court that there is no further need for deliberations or exchange of information in connection with funding of the projects. He added that the top court may direct the consortium of banks to release funds in the course of this week, in order to facilitate him and NBCC to plan the further execution of the work and also clear outstanding liabilities without any further delay.

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