The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave an opportunity to the Unitech homebuyers who are senior citizens above 75 years of age, fixed deposit holders, and persons in urgent medical need to seek a refund of the amount deposited for their flats.
The Unitech board of management informed the top court that subject to statutory approvals and availability of funds, it will be able to deliver 1000 to 1500 flats in nine to 12 months starting from August, this year.
The top court sought the data to be uploaded on a web portal meant for the home buyers, which will be opened for a stipulated period till May 15.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah noted that several requests have been received from the home buyers who are above 75 years of age, fixed deposit holders, and persons in urgent need of money due to medical urgency to expedite their applications for refund.
“For this purpose, we propose to issue a request to the amicus curiae to open the portal for the stipulated period. Apart from the above, this court has been apprised by counsels appearing on behalf of senior citizens, fix deposit holders, and persons with an urgent medical needs that their cases for refund may be processed expeditiously in view of the extreme hardship faced by several persons belonging to these categories”, the bench said.
It also gave an opportunity to the home buyers who have applied for a refund to switch their option to possession of flats.
It issued directions to advocate Pawan Shree Agarwal, to keep the web portal open until May 15, 2022, to enable any flat buyer who has applied for a refund of the amount paid to the Unitech to possession of the units.
It said that to enable the court to have a clear picture of the extent of the outflow of the money the details shall be compiled.
“On or before May 15, 20202, all flat buyers who are registered in the portal shall email a request under the direction of this court to upload the details of the date of birth of the sole flat buyer or joint flat buyer as the case may be”, the bench said.
It said that to compile the age profile of flat buyers, based on the information which will be received on the web portal, the amicus curiae and present board of management of Unitech shall jointly compile the data and submit a report of flat buyers above the age of 70 years and flat buyers between the age of 65 and 75, who have opted for refunds.
“In order to deal with applications for refunds on the ground of medical emergency, the web portal is to be modified so as to permit any flat buyer who desires a refund on the above ground to upload scan copies of the medical records”, it said.
The top court was also informed by the Delhi government that steps, as directed by the top court, have been taken to remove the mobile towers from the vicinity of Tihar jail premises and detailed SOPs are being finalised by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Department of Telecom.
Advocate Gautam Narayan said that the installation of mobile jammers, body scanners, and several other reformative measures suggested by the top court in view of the report of Delhi Commission of Police Rakesh Asthana has been undertaken.
The bench said that since the work is in progress, the Delhi government may file an updated status report in this regard.
It said that the steps like removing cell towers and mobile jammers and other measures taken to enhance prison security could be replicated in other parts of the country’s high-security jails if it is successful in Delhi.
Additional Solicitor General N Venkatraman, appearing for a new board of management of Unitech, said that subject to all statutory approvals, they will be able to deliver 1000 to 1500 flats in nine to 12 months starting from August, this year.
The bench asked Venkatraman to file a status report in this regard.
The top court also issued notice to the Enforcement Directorate on a plea of Preeti Chandra, wife of ex-Unitech promoter Sanjay Chandra seeking permission to move the trial court for bail in the money laundering case.
On April 20, the top court had asked the ED to file a status report on steps taken to bring back Unitech Ltd home buyers’ money amounting to Rs 5000 crores which has been siphoned off and stashed in a tax haven like Cyprus.
The top court had also appointed former Supreme Court Judge AM Sapre to look into the policy and finalization of standard operating procedure for monetization of project land assets and non-project land assets of Unitech.
On March 25, the top court had conditionally allowed former Unitech promoter Sanjay Chandra’s wife Preeti, lodged in Tihar Jail in a money laundering case, five hours out of the prison on March 26 or April 5 to attend her maternal grandmother’s funeral.
The ED had recently filed a fresh charge sheet before a court here in connection with its money laundering probe against realty group Unitech, its ex-promoter brothers Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra, and others.
The ED had made a startling claim in November last year that it had unearthed a “secret underground office” here which was being operated by erstwhile Unitech founder Ramesh Chandra and visited by his sons Sanjay and Ajay when on parole or bail.
Both Sanjay and Ajay, in jail since August 2017, are accused of allegedly siphoning off home buyers’ money.
On November 10 last year, the top court had said that it is a “sorry state of affairs” in Tihar Jail which has become a den of criminals, and murders are happening there.