The Delhi High Court granted bail to former Amrapali Group director Ajay Kumar on Friday in four cases of cheating and fraud lodged by the police here on complaints from homebuyers in various residential projects of the real-estate company in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
The homebuyers have alleged that in spite of the payment of the majority of the consideration amount, the projects were either stalled or abandoned or the possession of flats was given in a highly-delayed and incomplete manner.
Justice Amit Bansal observed that there are no specific allegations against Kumar that he was responsible for the financial matters, policy-making or administration of the real-estate company and his exact role shall be determined only after the conclusion of the trial, which is likely to take a considerable period of time.
“Taking into account the voluminous documents, the number of witnesses and that the trial is likely to take a long time, the applicant cannot be kept under incarceration for an indefinite period of time. Accordingly, considering the totality of the facts and circumstances and the period of incarceration already suffered by the applicant, this court is inclined to grant bail to the applicant,” the judge said.
The court directed that Kumar, who was arrested in the instant FIRs lodged by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police in 2021 and 2022, be granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with one surety of the like amount, subject to certain conditions, such as he will not leave the country without the court’s prior permission and will join the investigation.
The court noted that the real-estate projects involved in the instant matters are Amrapali Leisure Valley, Veronica Heights and Jaura Heights, Amrapali Enchante and Amrapali Adarsh Awas Yojana.
It observed that chargesheets have been filed in all the four FIRs, the entire evidence is documentary in nature and in possession of the prosecution and therefore, there is no possibility of tampering with it.
The complainants are homebuyers, so there is “little possibility” of influencing or threatening the witnesses, the court said as it recorded that the accused has already deposited his passport.
The court also said it is a “settled principle of law that bail is the rule and jail is an exception” and the right to speedy trial and justice is a fundamental one.
It further said the fact that the Supreme Court was seized of the matter relating to homebuyers being given possession of their flats cannot be the ground for not granting bail to Kumar in the present cases.
A sum of Rs 8.36 crore has already been recovered from Kumar and his family members through sale of assets in terms of the top court’s order, the high court observed.
The Delhi Police opposed the bail applications, saying 59 cases are pending against the applicant.
It said according to the balance sheet of the accused company, Amrapali Leisure Valley Private Limited, of the Rs 1,009 crore received from homebuyers for various projects developed by it, an amount to the tune of Rs 503.58 crore was diverted in the form of long-term loans and advances and Rs 65.81 crore as short-term loans and advances to Amrapali Group companies and others.
The accused had sought bail on the ground that he had no role in the day-to-day affairs of the company and no say in its financial matters, policy-making or administration.
It was also said that he was the director of the accused companies only for a brief time, between 2013 and 2016.