The Supreme Court today directed real estate firm Unitech to deposit 14 per cent interest on Rs 16.55 crore invested by 39 home buyers at its project in Gurugram by May 8. The apex court also warned that failure to meet the deadline could invite attaching the realtor’s property. It refused to grant more time to Unitech Residential Resorts Ltd, which has delayed handing over of flats to these home buyers.
“Let these matters be listed on May 8 by which time the amount(s) as directed on earlier occasions shall be deposited, failing which this court may think of attaching the property of the appellant company,” a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar said. When the counsel appearing for the company requested the court to extend the time for depositing the money, the bench categorically said, “let the money come”.
Advocate Brajesh Kumar, representing 20 of the 39 home buyers, opposed the submission of the firm and said they should be asked the deposit the money soon. The 39 home buyers had booked flats in Unitech’s Vista housing project in Gurugram. They had sought a refund of their principal amount, totalling Rs 16.55 crore with interest, after the developer, which had promised to give the possession by 2012, delayed it.
The apex court on February 20 had directed the developer to deposit 14 per cent interest on Rs 16.55 crore invested by these home buyers and had said that the interest would be calculated from January 1, 2010.
It had asked the real estate major to deposit the amount with the apex court registry. The bench had directed the registry to disburse 90 per cent of this amount to home buyers on pro rata basis, as was done while giving refund of the principal amount.
However, it had said that issue of compensation will be deliberated upon later. The court on January 12 had directed that Rs two crore deposited by Unitech with its registry as principal amount, be distributed among 39 home buyers.
The apex court had on August 17 last year directed the embattled real estate firm to deposit Rs 15 crore principal amount by September-end to pay back investors and home buyers who were not given possession of the flats on time. The investors had told the court that they had paid money to the firm on time and the company was scheduled to hand over possession of the flats in 2012 but had not till date.
Over two dozen home buyers of Unitech’s housing projects in Noida and Gurugram had approached the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) after the builder failed to give them possession of the flats as the per schedule. The consumer forum had asked Unitech to refund the money to the home buyers with interest.