Banks Will Infuse Funds into Stalled Amrapali Housing Projects: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has been informed that out of the six banks, four -- the Bank of Baroda (BoB), the Bank of India (BoI), UCO Bank, and the Punjab & Sindh Bank (PSB) -- are on board to infuse money in court-monitored Amrapali projects.

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Come this Holi, some relief is in sight for thousands of home buyers, as funds may begin to be pumped into the stalled Amrapali housing projects very soon.

The Supreme Court has been informed that out of the six banks, four -- the Bank of Baroda (BoB), the Bank of India (BoI), UCO Bank, and the Punjab & Sindh Bank (PSB) -- are on board to infuse money in court-monitored Amrapali projects. And, the State Bank of India (SBI) and the Punjab National Bank (PNB) have assured the top court that a policy decision in connection with funding of the projects will be taken by the end of this week.

A bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit and Bela M. Trivedi were informed that four banks have sanctioned funding for the stalled housing projects and the remaining two banks - the SBI and the PNB - have scheduled a meeting later this week, after which funds may begin to flow into the projects.

Kumar Mihir, counsel for home buyers, said: "This is certainly good news for the homebuyers. We expect the total funding from the banks will be close to Rs 1,500 crore."

During the hearing, advocate M.L. Lahoty, representing the home buyers, and the forensic auditor have pointed out comprehensively, how funds were diverted to Indore projects from home buyers' funds and they need to be recovered. The counsel said no investment was made by Prem Mishra, Amrapali's collaborator in Indore, and all Indore projects are prima facie Amrapali projects only.

The forensic auditor contended that what ED is claiming to be the properties of Mishra as proceeds of crime was actually the properties of Amrapali Modern Homes Pvt Ltd. He added that these properties have been constructed by siphoning of home buyers' money, and they should be detached and handed over to court receiver, senior advocate R. Venkataramani, for auctioning to generate funds.

On March 7, the Supreme Court had directed the consortium of banks to follow the footsteps of the BoB, 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.

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

In its February 21 order, the top court had noted that Alok Kumar, advocate for UCO Bank, Bishwajit Dubey, advocate for BoB, and Megha Karnwal, advocate for SBI, have accepted that the banks concerned are in the process of reaching final stages of decision within a week's time.

The top court was informed that the matters will be concluded at the topmost levels of these banks, whereafter funding can immediately begin.

Siddhartha Dave, senior advocate 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.

"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," said the top court in its order.

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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