Not Admitting Guilt But Keep Property Attached Till Trial End: J.P. Morgan To SC

New Delhi:  J.P. Morgan India on Wednesday, without admitting the allegations levelled against the firm by the ED in the Amrapali housing scam, told the Supreme Court that attachment of its property worth Rs 187 crore may continue till the trial is concluded by special PMLA court in Lucknow.

The multi-national firm requested a bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra and U.U. Lalit to be allowed to withdraw its application seeking stay of the attachment of its properties.

The response from the firm came after the ED filed a reply affidavit stating that J.P. Morgan is trying to shortcut the procedure under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act by directly moving the apex court and evading trial.

The apex court asked J.P. Morgan to deposit Rs 140 crore as per the finding of the forensic audit and directions in the last year’s judgement in the Amrapali Group housing scam, even as senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing J.P. Morgan, contended before the court that the attachment was wrong.

Justice Mishra said the amount has been siphoned off from the home-buyers, and also the audit report is against the multi-national firm. “They must then deposit the amount in court. What about illegalities?” said the bench. Rohatgi agreed to come back with instructions next week.

On May 27, J.P. Morgan India had told the Supreme Court it has not committed any wrongdoing and the attachment of its properties by the Enforcement Directorate is blatantly illegal, as it has no role in Amrapali Group housing scam.

In the last hearing, the ED informed the Supreme Court that it has attached Rs 187 crore assets of the multi-national firm for its alleged role in siphoning of Amrapali Group homebuyers money. A bench of Justices Mishra and Lalit had asked ED to file a short reply on the grievance raised by the J.P. Morgan India, which argued that the attachment of its properties was blatantly illegal as it does not have a penny worth of investment in Amrapali group. Instead, it was J.P. Morgan Singapore and Mauritius which have put the money in the real estate firm, added Rohatgi.

The bench noted it was concerned with the contention raised by a firm, which has branches all over the world, and asked the ED to file a short reply on the application filed by J.P. Morgan India before the next date of hearing.


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