MS Dhoni Issued Notice By Supreme Court In Arbitration Proceedings Against Amrapali

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The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the arbitral proceedings initiated by former India captain M S Dhoni against the Amrapali group of companies, now a defunct assets firm that the cricketer was the brand ambassador, over some financial dispute.

The Supreme Court-appointed forensic auditors had told the bench that Amrapali Group had entered into "sham agreements" with Rhiti Sports Management Pvt Ltd (RSMPL) which promotes the brand of Dhoni, to "illegally divert" home buyers' money and a complete amount of Rs 42.22 crore was paid to RSMPL during 2009-2015.

Dhoni had moved to the Delhi state supreme court which, on October 16, 2019, had appointed its former judge Veena Birbal as sole arbitrator to arbitrate the commercial dispute between the cricketer and also the realty firm.

A bench comprising justices UU Lalit and Bela M Trivedi was on Monday told by the court-appointed receiver about the pending arbitration proceedings between Dhoni and also the defunct assets firms and therefore the difficulties posed to him in pursuing it.

In the order, the court noted that to secure the interests of the house buyers, it had taken cognizance of the matters and had appointed a court receiver to confirm that the housing projects are completed well within time and apartments are allotted to the buyers.

"In view of those, it'd be extremely difficult for the receiver to defend and be sure of such litigations...It can not be expected that the erstwhile management or anybody else can represent the Amrapali group of companies before the learned sole arbitrator," the bench said.

Issuing notice to the cricketer, the court requested Justice Birbal "to hold her hands" and not proceed with the arbitration.

In April 2019, Dhoni had moved the Supreme Court seeking protection of his ownership rights on an over 5,500-square feet penthouse he booked 10 years ago during a project of Amrapali Group.

Lawyer M L Lahoty, who is additionally related to the case, said that Dhoni was given an enormous sum of cash by the 000 estate firm for being its brand ambassador, and "we had at that stage argued that the number was to be recovered" and "the issue of retrieving of cash goes on within the apex court." The apex court has been monitoring various housing projects of the defunct land group which are now being built by the NBCC.

The top court, in its July 23, 2019, verdict had cracked the whip on errant builders for breaching the trust reposed by home buyers and ordered the cancellation of the registration of Amrapali Group under assets law RERA and ousted it from prime properties within the NCR by nixing land leases.

Former group directors of Amrapali -- Anil Kumar Sharma, Shiv Priya, and Ajay Kumar -- are in prison on the highest court's order.

The court had directed a hunt by the Enforcement Directorate into alleged concealment by realtors, providing relief to over 42,000 home buyers of Amrapali Group with the decision.

The top court, which is trying to usher in funds for the stalled projects, had then directed the state-run NBCC to finish the stalled projects of Amrapali Group.