18:39 GMT29 March 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): In a significant judgment on the real estate giant ‘Amrapali Group’ which was found guilty of defrauding homebuyers, the Supreme Court of India has said the International Cricket Council chairman Shashank Manohar was paid Rs.36 lakh ($51,000 approx.) by the Group’s Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) Anil Kumar Sharma.

    Citing the payment made to the ICC chairman as misuse of funds paid by home buyers, the top court of India has also ordered India's economic intelligence agency- Enforcement Directorate (ED) to investigate the issue of money laundering in the real estate group.

    Manohar's name is on the list of parties who had received money from the corpus of INR 8.71 crore ($1.24 million), which the real estate CMD Sharma had at his disposal.

    Earlier on Wednesday, the name of Indian cricket legend and former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni also got embroiled in the Amrapali fiasco.

    The apex court-appointed forensic auditors informed the court on Tuesday that the real estate group engaged in "sham agreements" with companies linked to Dhoni and his wife Sakshi to "illegally divert" homebuyers money.

    The forensic report which was accepted by the apex court stipulated that Amrapali group diverted money to Rhiti Sports Management Private Limited- a sports company in which Dhoni holds a significant stake and Sakshi serves as its Director.

    The report cited that during 2009-2015, Rhiti Sports received a total sum of Rs. 42.22 crore ($6.03 million approx) from the real estate group. However, after the media scrutiny over his alleged involvement with the group, Dhoni in 2016 had served his ties with Amrapali group and had quit from the post of company's brand ambassador.

    Rhiti Sports, however, has denied any wrongdoings on their part.

    "We at Rhiti were the endorsement agency and were retained on a commission basis. We have all documents to prove that the transactions done by Rhiti Sports were bonafide and backed by proper agreements at both the levels," company's Managing Director Arun Pandey told daily Economic Times's web portal.

    The court has meanwhile also cancelled the registrations of all units of the embattled real estate group.

    The Amrapali Group started operations in 2003 in the Indian capital of Delhi, quickly rising to be a behemoth real-estate player in India within a decade.

    However, at present, more than 2,500 homebuyers have reportedly taken the real estate group to the apex court over non-completion of their housing projects after the group ran into a financial crunch. 


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