Cricketer Mahender Singh Dhoni has landed in further trouble over his association with discredited real estate group Amrapali, with as many as seven FIRs filed till date by various groups of homebuyers in the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police, alleging that they were lured to invest in the group’s projects due to his aggressive publicity of the Group as its brand ambassador.
This comes on the heels of the Supreme Court judgement on July 23 which held that Amrapali illegally diverted homebuyers’ money to several companies, including those owned by Dhoni’s wife.
“He is part of a criminal conspiracy hatched by the accused persons. Therefore, he should be added as an accused in the said FIR,” buyers alleged in their respective FIRs.
The Amrapali Group, which emerged as an established real estate player under its CMD Anil K Sharma towards the end of the last decade, came under the SC’s lens in 2017 when thousands of homebuyers alleged non-delivery of flats.
The auditors appointed by the court revealed that it collected thousands of crores from buyers but siphoned it off in activities other than real estate.
The court, in its July 23 judgment, ordered a series of measures, including the removal of the CMD and other directors, the appointment of a court receiver to take over the company, appointment of NBCC to complete the unfinished flats and instruction to the police to further investigate the matter.
During the hearing, the court sent Sharma and other directors to jail for contempt, cheating and fraud.
As reported at the time by National Herald, the judgment had reproduced a forensic audit report submitted to the court by auditors Pawan Kumar Aggarwal and Ravinder Bhatia, which stated that Amrapali Group had entered into “sham” agreements with entities promoted by Dhoni and his wife Sakshi, namely Rhiti Sports Management Private Limited and Amrapali Mahi Developers Private Limited.
Dhoni, who was Amrapali’s brand ambassador till April 2016, has a major stake in Rhiti Sports Management Private Limited while Sakshi is a director of Amrapali Mahi Developers Private Limited.
“We feel that Home Buyers money has been diverted illegally and wrongly to Rhiti Sports Management Private Limited and should be recovered from them as the said Agreement in our opinion do not stand the test of Law,” the forensic audit report said.
As per records, Sakshi Dhoni “received share capital in cash and all the expenses were paid in cash,” the top court said.
“We are informed verbally that this company was incorporated for the development of a project in Ranchi. An MOU was also entered between the parties though we were not provided with a copy of that,” the auditors had added.
The seven buyers’ groups that have lodged FIRs from July 23 till date belong to residential projects such as O2 Valley, La Residentia, Silicon City, Crystal Homes, Leisure Valley, Adarsh Awas Yojna and Kingswood.
They have alleged that Amrapali launched all these projects without any approval from the concerned authorities in Noida, adding that even the builder-buyer agreement was unilateral and biased.
“With the impression of MS Dhoni as the legend of India cricket and Anil K Sharma as a professional builder with a degree from IIT, buyers signed the agreement believing clauses of agreement as to the worst-case scenario,” the FIR said.
“In the FIRs, Anil K Sharma and the other directors have been made accused. But we have requested the investigating agency to look into the role of MS Dhoni and made him an accused as well,” one of the complainants of the FIR said.
The matter has been listed for hearing on December 2 in the Supreme Court. The Enforcement Directorate and EoW (Delhi Police) are expected to submit status reports of their investigations.