SC allows arrest of Amrapali Group CMD in cheating case (Lead)

New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed arrest of Amrapali Group Chairman and Managing Director Anil Kumar Sharma as well as two other directors, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar, by the Delhi Police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in an alleged criminal case involving cheating.

The division bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit also allowed the EOW to interrogate Sharma and the two directors.

It also ordered attachment of properties belonging to Sharma, including his bungalow in south Delhi, and two others.

On the application by the Deputy Commissioner, EOW, seeking permission to arrest and take into custody Sharma, Shiv Priya and Kumar, the court said, "We make it clear that the Delhi Police is free to arrest/take into custody any or all the other Directors of Amrapali group of companies. Any order passed by this court in this case shall not come in their way to do so."

Also noting that the three are presently in custody of Uttar Pradesh Police, the court directed Delhi Police to "investigate the entire gamut of the scenario of the various projects, as projected in this case and various orders passed and investigate the entire matter. Prima facie, we find that the case requires serious investigation in the facts projected by the Directors, CFO and the statutory auditors".

It further ordered the EOW to investigate the role of Anil Mittal, the statutory auditor and Chander Wadhwa, the CFO, as well. "Police may interrogate them and find out their criminality, if any, in the matter."

The court also ordered that its various order sheets as well as the affidavits of Wadhwa and Mittal and Directors of Amrapali Group indicating the operational methods of diversion of funds and creation of companies be also furnished to the Deputy Commissioner, EOW.

The court has asked forensic auditors to complete by March 22 audit of the group's accounts for alleged diversion of the home-buyers' money.

Sharma, Priya and Kumar are in the custody of UP Police since October 9, following a Supreme Court order after they failed to hand over all documents related to their 46 companies to forensic auditors.

The court had ordered the action observing that their act was blatant and deliberate violation and non-compliance of its order. "If they want to live in dignity, then they should hand over all the documents immediately," it said.

The trio is restricted to a hotel room in Noida from where they are taken to their offices every day to hand over documents.

However, sources said so far they were not arrested. They were only in police custody to ensure compliance of the top court order.

The next hearing in the case is on March 26.

--IANS

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