ED opposes interim bail plea of Supertech chairman R K Arora in money laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday opposed in a Delhi court an application filed by the chairman and promoter of real estate major Supertech Group, R K Arora, seeking interim bail for three months on medical grounds in a money laundering case.

Arora’s application was moved before Additional Sessions Judge Devender Kumar Jangala on account of his “deteriorating medical condition which has been aggravating ever since his incarceration as he was already suffering from various life-threatening diseases”.

Enforcement Directorate’s Special Public Prosecutor N K Matta and advocate Mohd Faizan Khan told the court there was no need to release the accused on bail since all medical assistance he required was already available in the prison.

The judge is likely to take up the matter for further consideration on January 5.

The application, moved on December 22, claimed Arora required treatment at a private hospital.

“It is pertinent to state herein that the Applicant warrants urgent medical/surgical treatment of serious life-threatening diseases, ailments,” the application said.

The court had on October 15 dismissed Arora’s plea seeking default bail in the case.

Arora was arrested on June 27 under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after three rounds of questioning.

The money laundering case against the Supertech group, its directors and promoters, stems from a clutch of FIRs registered by police in Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.

The ED has been probing 26 FIRs registered by the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh police against Supertech Ltd and its group companies for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust and forgery. They have been accused of defrauding at least 670 home buyers of Rs 164 crore.

According to the charge sheet, the company and its directors hatched a “criminal conspiracy” to cheat people by collecting funds from prospective home buyers in advance against flats booked in their real estate projects.

The company did not adhere to the agreed obligation of providing possession of the flats in time and “defrauded” the general public, the anti-money laundering agency said.

The ED claimed its probe revealed the funds were collected by Supertech Limited and other group companies from home buyers.

The company also took project-specific term loans from banks and financial institutions for the purpose of construction of housing projects, the ED said.

However, these funds were “misappropriated and diverted” for buying land in the name of other group companies which were pledged as collateral to borrow funds from banks and financial institutions, it added.

The Supertech group also defaulted on payments to banks and financial institutions rendering around Rs 1,500 crore of such loans non-performing assets, the agency said.

Supertech Ltd, which was formed in 1988, has so far delivered around 80,000 apartments, mainly in the Delhi-NCR region. The company is currently developing around 25 projects across the National Capital Region (NCR). It is yet to give possession to more than 20,000 buyers.

The company has been plagued by a crisis since last August when its nearly 100-metre twin towers – Apex and Ceyane – located on the Noida Expressway were demolished following an order of the Supreme Court which found they were constructed within the Emerald Court premises in violation of norms.

Arora had then said the company incurred a loss of about Rs 500 crore, including in construction and interest costs, because of the demolition.

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The company suffered another blow in March last year when the Delhi bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) ordered initiation of insolvency proceedings against Supertech Ltd on a petition filed by the Union Bank of India for non-payment of dues of around Rs 432 crore.

Supertech challenged the order before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).

In June 2022, the NCLAT ordered the commencement of insolvency proceedings in only one of the housing projects of Supertech Ltd and not the entire company.

The NCLAT also ordered constitution of a Committee of Creditors for the firm’s Eco Village 2 project located in Greater Noida (West).

The company got permission from the Supreme Court to arrange around Rs 1,600 crore from institutional investors to complete 18 housing projects across Delhi-NCR being built under the main firm Supertech Ltd.

Apart from these 18, some other housing projects are being executed by different companies in the Supertech Group.

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