In a major relief for belaboured customers of AN Buildwell Pvt Ltd (currently under liquidation), on 15.02.2018 the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court dismissed the petition seeking to transfer the case to NCLT and pushing the company firmly into liquidation.
The Hon’ble Bench accepted submissions by Mr. Vikas Sethi on behalf of FOSECA and SWBA, collectively representing over 1100 customers of AN Buildwell who submitted bonafides of the respective associations as well as proof of support from the majority of creditors. The Hon’ble Bench observed that the interests of the larger group should not be held hostage by the interests of a few individuals and passed an order dismissing the petition and asking for the revival petitions pending at the Company Court to be put on the 0fast track.
Previously, in another boost to customers, the ACMM court in Saket had granted relief on 10.02.2018 to Ashish Bhalla, an erstwhile advisor and professional consultant to the Real Estate company which had two projects, Spire Edge, Manesar and Spire Woods, Sector 103, Gurgaon. FOSECA and SWBA, customer associations representing the majority of customers of ANB, had filed a Revival Scheme in the Delhi High Court in June 2016, taking the help of creditors like Mr. Bhalla, forcing the Promoters to sit up and take notice.
Mrs. Nayantara Prasad, an office bearer of the customers’ association said, ‘Mr. Bhalla is an architect and professional, and is being made a scapegoat by the Promoters because he came forward to support us customers, and it is a shame the way he is being targeted.’ Several complaints including the main complainants in two of the three FIRs gave statements supporting Mr Bhalla, and the group of customers representing over 1100 customers vehemently supported the application of Mr. Bhalla, and stated that they had never named him in their complaints.
The newly enacted RERA or the relief in the budget does not help ongoing projects like Spire Edge that are stuck on account of mismanagement by Promoters, and it is up to customers to take over these projects towards their logical conclusion, said Ms. Renuka Kulkarni, Secretary FOSECA.
The Hon’ble Court came down heavily on the investigating department for the manner in which the investigation had been conducted. The IO submitted that he could find no money trial or evidence to support the false allegations levelled against Mr. Bhalla by the promoters.
“This is the third time courts have intervened to protect the rights of my client Mr Bhalla, and safeguard his rights. First the Sessions court then the High court and now the Trial court has granted my client protection against harassment by the Police authorities. The court’s conscience has been shaken by the biased targeting and instigated investigation being conducted by the Police, despite my client having no ownership or shareholding in AN Buildwell Pvt. Ltd.” said Shaunak Kashyap, counsel for the Mr. Bhalla.
Previously, office bearers leading a group of over 100 investors had met BJP’s Delhi President, Sh. Manoj Tiwari, MP, on 20.01.2018 and sought his intervention into the investigation which was ignoring the key fact of deliberate liquidation engineered by the Promoters of AN Buildwell in order to escape their liabilities. Sh. Manoj Tiwari was deeply moved by the plight of hapless aged investors and had had assured investors that he would personally accompany them to the PHQ, and request the Commissioner, Delhi Police to ensure that investors got relief as well as justice, and assured them that he would not hesitate in asking difficult questions to the Police Department, saying he did not believe in ‘Andha Kanoon’.
Investigation aspects not convenient to Promoters have been deliberately overlooked and buried deep. All our fellow investors are asking us.. ‘Why is EOW shielding Promoters and putting obstacles in our way?’ said Mr. Vikas Sethi, President FOSECA, appealing to the authorities to ensure that relief for customers was of paramount importance, as had been pointed out by the Hon’ble Division Bench of the Delhi High Court on 15.02.2018, and that they should ignore proxies and individual fronts put up by Promoters to derail genuine customer efforts.