After thousands of duped homebuyers, it is now former Indian cricket captain M S Dhoni who has knocked at the doors of the Supreme Court against the Amrapali group, seeking the court’s intervention to get around Rs 40 crore from the group for using his services for branding and marketing activities for six years.
Dhoni entered into various agreements with the Amrapali group in 2009 to promote the company as its brand ambassador and granted exclusive rights to the builder to use his endorsement in marketing and public relations activities. He remained associated with the group for around six years but parted ways in 2016 after duped homebuyers launched a social media campaign against the cricketer for promoting the company. His wife was also associated with charity operations of the group.
As the Supreme Court is hearing the plea of around 46,000 homebuyers against the group for cheating them by not delivering the flats and has ordered attachment of all its properties besides those of its associate companies and their directors, Dhoni approached the apex court to protect his financial stakes. He pleaded the court to earmark certain land parcels of the group for him to protect his interests.
Dhoni, who was the marketing face of the real estate company and was seen in various advertisements, told the court that the company had entered into various agreements with him to promote its brand and its various housing projects but it did not pay the money for his services and claimed that a told amount of Rs 38.95 crore is due to him.
“The builder, Amrapali group, owes an amount in excess of Rs 38.95 crore of which Rs 22.53 crore is towards the principal amount and Rs 16.42 crore towards interest calculated at 18% simple interest per annum,” he said.
Tightening the noose around Amrapali group for cheating thousands of homebuyers who have invested money but were not given flats, the SC had on February 28 sent its CMD Anil Sharma + and two directors—Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar— to police custody for interrogation.
The cricketer attached copies of his agreements with the builder along with his petition. Referring to the agreement signed between the Amrapali group and Rhiti Sports, the company that manages some cricketers including Dhoni, the cricketer said, “It was agreed that the firm will provide Amrapali Group with exclusive right to use his (Dhoni’s) endorsement in connection with the advertisements, marketing and PR activities. Also it was categorically agreed that all the payments under the agreement was to be paid to the applicant (Dhoni) only.”