The Supreme Court on Monday gave the go-ahead to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to attach US-based JP Morgan’s properties in India for allegedly colluding with real estate group Amrapali to divert funds of homebuyers in violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) rules. The ED, had in its submission, told the apex court that it had “prima facie” found violation of FEMA by JP Morgan. The apex court said it would monitor the investigation.
ED Joint Director Rajeshwar Singh told a Bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice U U Lalit that a complaint had been lodged regarding this.
The Bench also asked the agency to take Amrapali CMD Anil Kumar Sharma and its two directors, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar, to investigate money-laundering charges.
Singh told the Bench that the adjudication process against JP Morgan had already begun.
The ED had told the court last year about the alleged FEMA violations and that it had recorded the statement of the company’s country head in this regard.
The agency also said it suspected violation of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Deciding a petition filed by homebuyers who had invested in around 42,000 flats of the Amrapali Group, the apex court, in July last year, cancelled its RERA registration.
The court said it was apparent from the report of the forensic audit submitted by Forensic Auditors that there is a serious kind of fraud played upon the buyers in active connivance with the officials of the Noida and Greater Noida Authorities and that of the banks. The money of the homebuyers has been diverted.
“The Directors diverted the money by the creation of dummy companies, realising professional fees, creating bogus bills, selling flats at undervalue price, payment of excessive brokerage, etc. They have obtained investment from JP Morgan in violation of FEMA and FDI norms. The shares were overvalued for making payment to JP Morgan. It was adopted as a device for siphoning off the money of the homebuyers to foreign countries”, the court said.