ED gets SC nod to attach JP Morgan India properties

ED gets SC nod to attach JP Morgan India properties


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday permitted the Enforcement Directorate to attach Rs 187-crore JP Morgan India’s properties in a case related to alleged transactions with developer Amrapali Group. According to the ED’s case, the JPMorgan Chase unit had helped the local company divert funds by violating India’s foreign investment rules, and it had identified Rs 187 crore to be proceeds of crime. JP Morgan denied the charges, and said it ‘intends to vigorously defend ourselves against them’.

Responding to ET’s queries, the financial services company said JP Morgan India Pvt Ltd had neither invested in, nor received any proceeds from, Amrapali group. “We have an application pending to deal with these claims. Compliance with applicable laws, regulations and policies including foreign direct investment rules is fundamental to how we do business and we always cooperate with any government or regulatory agency,” it said.

Earlier in the day, a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and UU Lalit gave ED permission to attach properties on a request from its counsel, additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain. A copy of the order wasn’t available till press time. The court is monitoring the probe into alleged siphoning of funds from Amrapali, which resulted in the group going bust and left thousands of homebuyers in the lurch. ED also wants to attach personal properties of some directors of JP Morgan India under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act (PMLA).

Legal experts said ED could straightaway attach the properties. The company can appeal against the decision in a month before the adjudicating authority under the Act. People in the know said the agency was ready with a charge-sheet to be filed before a special PMLA court. The top court asked the government to consider financing efforts of state-owned NBCC to restart the projects stuck due to Amrapali. The court urged the government to at least provide Rs 500 crore as a loan to NBCC. It also heard out senior advocate ML Lahoty for the homebuyers.

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