In the Amrapali case, the forensic auditors have made another revelation and according to it, the Amrapali group gave penthouse and flats to the lawyers representing them in the court in place of the fee. The auditors also informed the Supreme Court that the acceptance of fee in ‘kind’ by the lawyers is also the violation of laws.
The bench of two judges said that such an activity is not permissible under the Advocates Act and no lawyers can accept the fees in kind.
While hearing the plea of home buyers the bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit directed all the directors of Jotindra Steel and Tubes Ltd, to appear before the forensic auditors in the next three days. This firm is the supplier to the Amrapali group.
In the forensic audit, Akhil Surekha, Managing Director in Jotindra Steel and Tubes Ltd, a public listed company, was also found to be a director in multiple companies of Amrapali.
Earlier to this, the forensic auditors were appointed by the court to figure out the siphoning of more than Rs. 400 crore by Surekha. According to the auditors, Akhil is an authorized signatory of Amrapali in banks from 2016 onwards.
Both the forensic auditors Pawan Agrawal and Ravi Bhatia, also informed the bench that a couple of lawyers representing the Amrapali group in the highest court of India have accepted flats and penthouses from the Amrapali group in contravention of the Advocates Act.
Pawan Aggarwal also said that he request the lawyers, who have received the flats, from Amrapali to return the property as soon as possible. On the other hand, Vikas Singh, Senior advocate who appeared for Akhil Surekha informed the court that his client was duped by the Amrapali as he owes Rs. 112 crore as the material cost from the realtor.
However, the forensic auditors intervened and told the court about the investment of Rs. 80 crore was made by Surekha in the realty firm.
After which the bench said that you might be a creditor of first its kind. Who for recovering the money invested more money into the company running in trouble. For us, it seems that you have created cobweb of companies to siphon off the funds from Amrapali. The FSI cannot be transferred under RERA Act.
The lawyer representing Akhil Surekha said that his client remained a director of Amrapali companies for merely 15 days in June 2016 and then walked out of those firms and the banks also discharged him from being a guarantor.
On which, the bench asked how did the banks discharged him from being a guarantor and sought details of all the documents by which he was relieved. The court also said that a supplier to the company cannot be a director and authorized signatory of the same firm.
Apart from this, the bench of two judges also asked senior advocate Gaurav Bhatia, to appear for Amrapali Group and explain how a company named ‘Stunning Construction Ltd’ was formed to pay the income taxes and advances that totals to Rs. 234 crores to the directors and their family members and other higher officials of the Group.
The matter remained inconclusive and is scheduled for the next hearing on 8th May.