Refusing to grant custody parole to Unitech managing director Sanjay Chandra for failing to raise money to pay home-buyers, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the refund of another Rs 25 crore to them
Refusing to grant custody parole to Unitech managing director Sanjay Chandra for failing to raise money to pay home-buyers, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the refund of another Rs 25 crore to them. Of around Rs 120 crore deposited by the embattled real estate firm and those who purchased its properties with the SC registry, around Rs 80 crore had earlier been distributed to the home-buyers.
A bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that amount with the registry shall be disbursed to home-buyers “by equalising it on pro-rata basis”. A total of 4,688 buyers are claiming a refund of Rs 1,865 crore from Unitech. They had booked their flats in various housing projects undertaken by the company.
The court also allowed home-buyers to take over the possession of their flats on an as-is-where-is basis.
“Home-buyers may approach the amicus curiae Pawanshree Agarwal who shall intimate the developer,” it said.
It directed Agarwal to distribute the funds after taking note of decrees passed in favour of home-buyers by various fora and also those who have registered on the portal for refund. Besides, the top court also asked him to carry out “reconciliation” and verification of the home-buyers.
Stating that it will keep around `15 crore aside for completion of 500 flats as claimed by Unitech, the apex court asked the justice SN Dhingra committee, which was appointed to look into auction process of more than 600 acres of Unitech land, to verify the company’s proposal and file a report within two weeks.
Requesting the bench to grant custody parole instead of interim bail, senior counsel Ranjit Kumar and Gaurav Bhatia, appearing for Unitech, argued that Chandra is on the “back foot” and that was being exploited by the people he was negotiating with to raise funds to comply with the apex court orders.
They said that it is almost going to be one year in jail as Chandra was arrested on August 9, 2017. “Even my employees are feeling threatened and are leaving. How do we go ahead if they start leaving the company as their MD is in jail,” Kumar said.
Bhatia also told the court that the real estate firm has to recover Rs 68 crore from the Noida Authority and another Rs 165 crore from the Telangana government for acquisition of land that was done 10 years ago.
Agarwal informed the court that the sale deed for 12.25 acres of Unitech’s land near Bengaluru was executed in favour of Devas last week under the supervision of former Delhi HC judge Dhingra, the chairman of the SC-appointed committee. He also handed over eight demand drafts for Rs 42.73 crore in favour of the SC registrar.
He told the court that Wisdom World Developers (WWDL), which had shown interest in taking over the entire Unitech’s Golf and Country Club project, including a land bank of 270 acres in Noida for Rs 180 crore, has also deposited Rs 15 crore to prove its bona fide as ordered by the top court earlier this month.
Pursuant to this, the SC sought response from the Noida Authority and Life Insurance Corporation on WWDL’s plea to buy the property. It also asked Unitech to file objections once the responses came in as the embattled company through another senior lawyer Pallav Sisodia argued that the Noida Authority in principle has agreed to take back some land. He argued that the 270 acres is now worth Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 crore and WWDL can’t be allowed to buy the land at just Rs 180 crore. As of now, Unitech owes around Rs 3,200 crore to the Noida Authority.
Unitech was supposed to deposit Rs 750 crore by December to secure Chandra’s bail. He is seeking interim bail from the apex court after the Delhi High Court on August 11 last year rejected his plea in a criminal case lodged in 2015 by 158 buyers of Unitech projects Wild Flower Country and Anthea Project in Gurugram.
The matter will come up for further hearing on August 21.