Supertech Ltd, one of the country’s largest real estate companies, now officially faces an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate for the alleged violation of money laundering. The investigation was being carried out against the company and its chairman RK Arora for the case related to the supposed illegal construction of twin towers in Noida with the aid of supposedly corrupt Noida officials. The Supreme Court had previously ordered the demolition of the company's 40-storey twin towers in the Emerald Court project located in Noida. However, the company is allegedly in the process of filing a review petition against the Supreme Court’s order to demolish. Supertech is going ahead with this on the claims that the tower was constructed as per the law and with the permission of relevant authorities, as they claim.
Supporting this move, Supertech chairman RK Arora told the apex court, "While we respect the Hon’ble Supreme Court order, we have decided to re-present the matter before the Hon’ble Supreme Court in a review application as the towers were constructed as per the approval of the competent authority conforming to the Building bye-laws."
The court had issued this order on August 31, on the grounds that the company had violated building norms. The top court had backed and held strong on the order that was earlier passed by the Allahabad High Court that directed the demolition of the same buildings.
A bench consisting of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah oversaw the proceedings. In that, they had said that this entire case was an ‘unholy nexus’ between the allegedly corrupt Noida authorities and the builders of the project. Following this, the court had states that all the investors who had bought homes in that complex were to be refunded with 12 percent interest that should be calculated from the time of booking the flat. The apex court also directed the company to pay around Rs 2 crore for harassment damages caused by the construction of the twin towers.
The Supreme Court had ordered the demolition last week Tuesday and said that the exercise had to be carried out within a timeframe of three months under the supervision of the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) and an expert agency. The top court also made it very clear that the entire cost of this endeavour was to be borne by Supertech Ltd.
The top court then later revisited the case and supposedly found that there may have been collusion between the NOIDA officials and the company, in the construction of the twin towers. The court then stated that the Allahabad High Court was right in the initial stance that it took.
The bench had also pointed out that the authority had alleged communications with the builder when homebuyers had asked for the plan. In the communication it was said that the NOIDA had asked the builder whether or not they should share the plans, eventually, the plans were allegedly not shares at the developer’s wishes.
It was also speculated that a special investigation team (SIT) formed by the Uttar Pradesh government to probe the irregularities in the map approval of the Emerald Court project in Sector 93A would visit the NOIDA main authority building in Sector 6 on Monday, according to a report by the Hindustan Times. The special unit was formed just two days after the Supreme Court had ordered the demolition of the twin towers in Supertech’s Emerald Court project. The team is consisted of UP industrial development commissioner (IDC) Sanjeev Mittal, chief secretary (revenue) Manoj Singh, ADG (police) Rajeev Sabharwal, and UP’s chief town and rural planner Anup Kumar. The team was given a week to submit their initial report on the investigation.
The Noida authority, on September 2, had allegedly also shared a list of names citing the identities of the supposed officials who were involved in the sanctioning of the build in the Emerald Court project. The names are said to include the then chief architect and town planner and additional chief executive officer, as per the report by HT.