A day before, both the Noida and Greater Noida authorities informed the Supreme Court about lack of requisite resources and expertise to construct the mid-stuck projects of the embattled Amrapali Group and urged the Court to hand over the properties to a reputed builder under the supervision of a high powered committee.
The authorities further said that they could not take any action like cancellation of lease agreements against the group which regularly defaulted on payments due to the bulk of home buyers and political weight. The authorities also informed the apex court that approximately Rs. 5,000 crore is outstanding on the Amrapali Group towards the principal amount and interest component besides the penal interest and while keeping the interest of home buyers in mind the government entities had not cancelled the lease agreements with Amrapali despite repetitive default of payment.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had said that it may give ownership rights of all the 15 prime residential properties of embattled Amrapali Group to Noida and Greater Noida Authorities as it has failed to fulfill its obligations towards 42,000 hassled home buyers.
A bench of two judges, Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit, reserved its verdict on the question as to who will take over the management control and which builder should finish the stalled projects of Amrapali.
The SC also asked explanation from the Noida authority about what action it has taken against Amrapali Group which was a chronic defaulter in payment of lease amount.
Senior advocate Debal Kumar Banerji, representing the Noida authority said that under their jurisdiction they have seven projects of Amrapali and they have an outstanding of nearly Rs 2,000 crores and they have received only Rs 505 crore till now. He concluded the argument, that besides issuing repetitive show cause notices to Amrapali Group for defaulting in payments to the Noida authority, they have not done anything.
Banerji was quoted saying, we have issued a series of show cause notices for repetitive default by Amrapali Group. We are public sector entity and there were a bulk of home buyers involved. Had we were a private body we could have easily cancelled their lease agreement and proceeded further.
He further said that due to the bulk of home buyers, political weight and looking at the consequences which would have followed after cancellation of Amrapali’s lease no strong action was taken.
The bench of two judges said that if the court gives you the ownership rights of properties of Amrapali, then how will the authority proceed.
Senior advocate Banerji said that we do not have requisite staffs, resources and expertise for the construct of projects. In the interest of all, it would be better if court sets up a high powered monitoring committee and ask a reputed builder or developer to construct the stalled projects in a time bound manner.
The Greater Noida authority took the similar stand and said that Amrapali Group has five projects under its jurisdiction out of which four are vacant lands and no construction has taken place.
Advocate Ravinder Kumar, representing the Greater Noida authority said that Amrapali has an outstanding of around 3400 crores and has paid only Rs 363 crores till now.
He further said that we have also issued repetitive show cause notices to them (Amrapali Group) but apart from that being a government entity and looking at the home buyers and the consequences to follow we could not proceed further for cancellation of lease.
After which the bench then asked both the authorities as who could be the builder then and said that the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) Limited could be one of the options.
On which Kumar replied that the Greater Noida authority is concerned about its outstanding and also said that the NBCC is also a consultant which has a very high rate for its services.
The court said that it can take care of all those issues but NBCC being a government entity may instill confidence among the home buyers.
In the beginning the Court asked it’s duly appointed forensic auditors, Pawan Aggarwal and Ravinder Bhatia to audit three more residential projects in which Amrapali has stakes — La Residentia, Amrapali O2 Valley both situated in Greater Noida West and Heartbeat City, situated in Noida.