The ED has detected over half-a-dozen alleged forex law violations by the Amrapali Group and found that homebuyers’ funds worth over Rs 55 crore were laundered and sent abroad using shell firms, official sources said on Tuesday.
The federal probe agency also wants that JP Morgan, a US-based investment banking firm, embroiled in the case be legally “directed” to remit back funds worth about Rs 140 crore that were “unauthorisedly” sent abroad so that they can be confiscated, they said.
At least seven “serious contraventions” under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and its regulations have been detected by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the Amrapali Group’s two companies — Amrapali Zodiac Developers Pvt Ltd (AZDPL) and Amrapali Silicon City Pvt Ltd (ASCPL), according to the sources.
The alleged forex violations pertain to an unauthorised assured return of Rs 85 crore to the foreign investor under FDI (foreign direct investment), wrong-end use of FDI funds worth Rs 78.5 crore, unauthorised borrowings in the guise of FDI worth Rs 85 crore, wrong transfer of shares by AZDPL by the foreign investor to two Indian companies and illegal remittance by the Indian companies, among others.
The ED also found that the discounted cash flow (DCF) method (of valuing a project, company, or asset) deployed by the promoters of the firm was a “deliberate ploy” to falsely justify premium on re-purchase of shares when it did not exist.
It was detected, as per probe records accessed by PTI, that the DCF method was “incorrectly applied” in this case and was “without any basis”.
ED’s Lucknow Zone Joint Director Rajeshwar Singh had on Monday apprised the Supreme Court about these facts and the progress made in the case. After this, the court asked the agency to ensure that the guilty are brought to book.
According to the sources, the ED has recently filed FEMA complaints for adjudication against AZDPL and ASCPL, before the competent authority of the case (a special director of the ED).
Apart from seeking a hefty penalty for the accused, it has sought directions to JP Morgan to remit back funds worth about Rs 140 crore so that they can be “confiscated” under the said law.
The probe records also said the Amrapali directors allegedly created shell companies and appointed dummy directors “in collusion” with JP Morgan and took away Rs 55 crore of the homebuyers’ money.
The ED now wants to attach these funds under the stringent provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
It has obtained evidences in the case after it recorded statements of various accused, collected bank transaction documents and dossiers of the company and its promoters related to incorporation of the firm, its financial dealings and agreements forged by the Amrapali Group and JP Morgan.
The SC on Monday also allowed the ED to take into custody the now defunct Amrapali Group’s CMD Anil Kumar Sharma and two other directors, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar, who are behind bars, for interrogation in connection with the alleged money laundering offences.
On July 23 last year, the top court had cracked its whip on errant builders for breaching the trust of homebuyers and ordered cancellation of the Amrapali Group’s registration under real estate law RERA.
The court had also ousted the group from its prime properties in the National Capital Region by nixing the land leases.
It had ordered a probe by the ED into allegations of money laundering and to look into the charge of FEMA violations by JP Morgan.