Unitech case: Chandra brothers to be moved to Mumbai jails on ‘secret office’ reveal

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August 27, 2021 3:30 AM

She further argued, “we have recovered hundreds of original sale deeds from that office, hundreds of digital signatures and several computers containing sensitive data with regard to their properties in India and abroad”.

The office was being visited by his sons, Sanjay and Ajay, while on parole or bail.The office was being visited by his sons, Sanjay and Ajay, while on parole or bail.

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed immediate transfer of former Unitech directors Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra from Delhi’s Tihar Jail to Mumbai’s Arthur Road and Taloja Jail, respectively. A bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud directed shifting of the two accused after the ED informed it that the duo was trying to scuttle an ongoing probe by influencing witnesses and tampering with evidence.

The brothers are in Tihar jail since August 2017 in an alleged 2015 forgery case filed by flat buyers of Unitech’s Gurgaon-based Anthea Floors Wildflower Country housing project in Sector 70. They had moved the SC against the Delhi High Court’s refusal to grant bail.

The ED, which is probing money-laundering charges against the brothers, said during one of its searches and seizures, it found a “secret underground office” in South Delhi’s Green Park that was being used by Unitech founder Ramesh Chandra.

The office was being visited by his sons, Sanjay and Ajay, while on parole or bail.

“They (Chandras’) have been operating from inside the jail premises. They have rendered the entire judicial custody otiose. They are freely communicating and passing on instructions with the help of people deputed outside the jail premises. ED has found that they have even tried to influence a dummy director when he was being interrogated by the agency,” Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan told the apex court.

She further argued, “we have recovered hundreds of original sale deeds from that office, hundreds of digital signatures and several computers containing sensitive data with regard to their properties in India and abroad”.

While stating that the ED had submitted two status reports in sealed cover to the SC and had provisionally attached Unitech’s properties worth Rs 600 crore both in India and abroad, the ASG further argued that the investigative agency had found an intricate web of money trail through shell companies and the two accused were operating from jail in connivance with its staff, and were trying to dispose of their properties and were influencing witnesses despite being in judicial custody, which was creating problem in the probe.

However, senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the brothers, said that nothing is done against the jail manual. He claimed that ED was giving prejudiced arguments to deny them their right to bail despite they fully cooperating in the probe. The SC in June had granted 15-day interim bail to Sanjay Chandra to attend the last rites of his father-in-law after which he had surrendered.

The judges also came down heavily on the Superintendent of the Tihar jail for allegedly colluding with Unitech promoters. Terming the conduct of jail authorities as “shameless”, the bench ordered a probe by Delhi Police Commissioner on ED’s claims that illegal activities were being carried out by the accused brothers in collusion with Tihar jail staff. The Delhi Police has been asked to act against its errant officers and file a report in four weeks.

Asking the investigative agency to speed up the probe, the top court clarified that no special facilities should be given to Chandras in jail besides what’s accorded to all other prisoners.

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