Money laundering case: Delhi court takes cognisance of charge sheet against Supertech chairman

 A Delhi court on Tuesday took cognisance of a charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate against chairman and promoter of real estate group Supertech in a money laundering case.

Special Judge Devender Kumar Jangala said “prima facie” there was sufficient incriminating evidence against the accused in the case.

“I am of the considered opinion that there is prima facie sufficient incriminating evidence about the commission of offence as defined under Section 3 (money laundering)… Thus cognizance for the said offences is taken,” the court said.

The judge summoned the co-accused Neha Talreja and the authorised representatives of accused companies — Supertech Ltd, Sarv Realtors Pvt Ltd, ASP Sarin Realty Pvt Ltd, Palash Building Solutions Pvt Ltd, Goodtime Builders Pvt Ltd, Daamodar Buildengineers Pvt Ltd, Doonvalley Technopolis and R K Arora Family Trust — for October 30.

The judge also issued production warrant against Arora, and directed the jail officials concerned to produce him before the court on October 30.

The judge also directed the ED to supply a copy of the complaint, along with documents, to Arora.

The court directed the ED to file its response on an application filed by Arora seeking default bail in the case.

The judge adjourned the hearing on the bail application for October 4 after ED’s Special Public Prosecutors N K Matta and Mudit Jain, along with advocate Mohd Faizan Khan, sought time to file reply to the application stating that the investigating officer was outstation.

The ED on August 24 filed the charge sheet against Arora, Supertech Group, and eight others in the money laundering case. They have been accused of defrauding at least 670 homebuyers of Rs 164 crore.

The nearly 100-page prosecution complaint, ED’s equivalent of a charge sheet, claimed there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the accused.

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.

During hearing on Monday, ED’s Special Public Prosecutor Matta and advocate Khan had told the court that the anti-money laundering agency was probing the matter related to 26 FIRs registered by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh police against Supertech Limited and its group companies for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust and forgery.

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

The company allegedly did not adhere to the agreed obligation of providing possession of the flats on time and “defrauded” the general public, the agency said, adding the funds were collected by Supertech and other group companies.

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, and currently around Rs 1,500 crore of such loans have become non-performing assets (NPA), the agency said.

Supertech Ltd, which was formed in 1988, has so far delivered around 80,000 apartments, mainly in Delhi-NCR. 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 customers.

The company has been plagued by crisis since 2022 when in August its nearly 100-metre-tall twin towers – Apex and Ceyane – located on 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 construction and interest costs, because of the demolition.

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

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

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

The NCLAT had also directed constitution of a Committee of Creditors for the Eco Village 2 project located in Greater Noida (West).

The company had secured the Supreme Court’s permission to mobilise around Rs 1,600 crore from institutional investors to complete 18 ongoing housing projects across Delhi-NCR 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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