Indian cricket superstar Mahendra Singh Dhoni (MS Dhoni), also dubbed 'Captain Cool' in cricketing circles, finds himself embroiled in a real estate dispute with Amrapali Group – a developer, known for projects in the Noida city of Uttar Pradesh, that India’s Supreme Court in December 2018 reportedly called “a perfect liar” – with claims that he has been “cheated” of outstanding payments and the delivery of his penthouse home from the builder.
According to local news outlet NDTV, Dhoni has moved India’s Supreme Court seeking possession of the penthouse within the Amrapali Safari project in his home city of Ranchi, located in the Indian state of Jharkhand.
In his plea to the court, Dhoni said in tandem with his booking of the home, Amrapali Group's management team signed him as brand ambassador for its projects.
NDTV reported that Dhoni, who was the Indian 50-overs team's captain until January 2017, said he had "been cheated, as the real estate company did not clear his outstanding [dues as brand ambassador] and also did not [hand over] the penthouse.”
Dhoni, recipient of India's third-highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan, is currently captaining the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) franchise of 20-over tournament Indian Premier League (IPL). He reportedly endorsed Amrapali Group between 2009 and 2016, with his wife Sakshi Singh Dhoni “associated with the charitable wing of the group”, according to NDTV.
CSK is also said to have approached the Supreme Court in March 2019 seeking Amrapali Group to pay the $5.7m that Dhoni was owed for appearing as brand ambassador.
NDTV’s news report stated that Amrapali Group was faced with financial difficulties that led to 46,000 of its paying homebuyers from various projects to move the Supreme Court and seek handover of their properties.
Indian news website Business Today reported in December 2018 that Amrapali Group diverted these payments to fund the construction of its other projects, as well as four corporate offices worth $138m.
Citing an affidavit placed before India’s Supreme Court, Amrapali Group’s chairman and managing director, Anil Sharma, reportedly admitted that diverting $429m to other companies had led the group to face a “financial crisis”, consequently delaying projects and “leaving homebuyers in the lurch”.
Business Today reported that the Supreme Court bench called Amrapali Group “a worst kind of cheater” at the time, adding: “You are a perfect liar. You are a first-degree liar. You have not given specific information what we have asked for in our earlier orders.”