Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the former captain of Indian cricket team, has moved the Supreme Court against embattled Amrapali group for Rs 40 crore due for his services used in realty firm’s branding for six years. According to a Times of India report, the petition filed by the cricketer also includes the copy of his agreement with the group. It should be noted that Dhoni had signed an agreement to promote Amrapali group in 2009. In that year, the cricketer was appointed as the ‘brand ambassador’ of the realty major, who has seen numerous litigations filed against it by homebuyers alleging fraud.
Dhoni parted ways with the Amrapali group sometime in 2016. His wife Sakshi Dhoni was also involved in various ‘charity operation’ of the group, the TOI report said. The decision came after an intense Twitter campaign by the homebuyers of social media demanded him to disassociate himself from such a ‘fraud’ group. "Dhoni is no longer our brand ambassador... I do not want his image to be affected because of being attached to Amrapali," company Chairman and Managing Director Anil Sharma had said at that time. He, however, had maintained that, “this decision was taken mutually by Dhoni and us.”
The complaints from the residents of Amrapalis Saphhire project in Noida had gone viral on Twitter over the past few days after they tagged Dhoni in their tweets asking the cricketer to disassociate himself from the builder or force the company to ensure completion of pending work.
Last year, sport management company Rhiti Sports, which manages Dhoni, KL Rahul and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar had moved the Delhi High Court and filed a recovery suit against Amrapali against dues of Rs 150 crore, the Economic Times had said. “They haven’t given us money for branding and marketing activities,” Arun Pandey, managing director of Rhiti Sports had said.
The development adds to the worries of the group, which has seen an epic downfall. Last month, the Supreme Court had ordered the police to arrest Amrapali Group CMD Anil Sharma over a criminal complaint. Supreme Court had also directed the attachment of Sharma's personal properties, including his bungalow in South Delhi. It had also made it clear that the properties of the other two directors of Amrapali will also be attached.
Earlier, the Supreme Court ordered the government-owned National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) to complete the two stalled projects by the embattled Amrapali Group. The order spelt huge relief for the Amrapali investors also. On December 5, 2018, the Supreme Court had directed attachment of Amrapali Builder's five-star hotel, corporate office and other properties. The top court also directed the Debt Recovery Tribunal to sell the properties of the embattled real estate firm. A bench of Justices comprising Arun Mishra, UU Lalit and DY Chandrachud have been dealing with a batch of petitions filed by home buyers who are seeking possession of around 42,000 flats, booked in projects of Amrapali Group. The company is responsible for diversion of home-buyers' money.