Ghar do ya jail do | Amarpali buyers on the streets – demand house or prison
In an unprecedented development, buyers of undelivered houses who have been cheated by Amrapali took to the streets in New Delhi, asking the Government to listen to their demands.
They were carrying placards with the slogan – Ghar do ya jail do (house or prison). Cases have been filed by buyers in the Supreme Court for delivery of around 42,000 flats that have not been done by the errant builder.
After sustained pressure from the SC and even a threat to send him to prison, Amrapali Group MD Anil Sharma finally admitted to having diverted Rs 2,996 crore of buyer’s money for expansion of his own business rather than completing flats. Moreover, this diversion is till March 2015, after which the company did not update its balance sheet.
Fifteen companies of the group received Rs 11,573 crore from home buyers and Rs 4,040 crore from financial institutions and foreign investors. Forensic auditors appointed by the SC have found that Amrapali partly used the money from buyers for building homes and the rest was diverted to shell companies. Sharma has given a list of nine companies from where the money was diverted.
A livid SC has ordered attachment of the group’s five-star hotel, cinema hall, mall and luxury cars across India, and called the company “a worst kind of cheater” and “a perfect liar” for not complying with its orders. It has also ordered the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in Delhi to attach and auction four corporate offices in Noida and Greater Noida. The court had also given the directors and their family members time till December 10 to return the money of home buyers. “You are a perfect liar. You are a first degree liar. You have not given specific information what we have asked for in our earlier orders.
We are not satisfied with your affidavit and you have only tried to manipulate the things. Despite our nine orders, you have not given specific information about business transactions for period 2015-18,” the bench said. It also pointed out how the company invested Rs 1,100 crore of home-buyers’ money to buy shares of a sister company.
While the top brass of Amrapali is aptly getting the legal treatment they deserve, the situation for the hapless homebuyers shows no sign of improving.
While ‘housing for all’ is a laudable objective, one feels that the Government of India must pay some heed to the unmet aspirations of thousands of middle class home buyers who have been cheated so ruthlessly by real estate firms like Amrapali.