The Supreme Court on Monday asked embattled real estate company Unitech to give details of its and its subsidiaries’ unencumbered properties in India and abroad by March 12. It also warned the company that any false declaration with regard to its properties in the affidavit would land it in further trouble. “If the affidavit is not true, the proceedings shall be initiated under Section 340 of the CrPC,” a bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said.
It also asked the JM Financial Asset Restructuring Company managing director and his competent officers to be personally present in the court “to answer the questions put by the court” on Monday after Unitech’s counsel Mukul Rohatgi and Ranjit Kumar claimed that the company was willing to finance its housing projects. However, the counsel appearing for JM Financial denied having any information in this regard.
Allowing the Pioneer Urban Land and Infrastructure’s impleadment application, the CJI stayed all the execution proceedings initiated by the homebuyers of the Unitech’s two housing projects in Gurgaon in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission subject to the former depositing Rs 40 crore before the SC Registry.
“A sum of `30 crore be deposited by March 30 and the balance Rs 10 crore be deposited by April 5. Be it noted, the said amount shall be distributed amongst the home buyers, who have claimed refund in respect of the concerned project before the Commission,” the court said.
However, the apex court clarified that “the proceedings shall remain stayed where there is collaboration of the applicants (Pioneer Urban) with the Unitech. The other proceedings against the applicants barring which is not covered by the collaboration agreement, shall continue.”
Pioneer, through its counsel CA Sundaram, submitted that there was a collaboration agreement between it and Unitech for a Gurgaon project under which its liability was limited to only 40% whereas Unitech’s liability was 60%. The co-developer has contested National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission’s (NCDRC) orders under which it was asked to discharge 100% liability of Unitech, he said.
Homebuyers, through counsel ML Lahoty and Gaurav Pachnanda, had submitted a report which said in case the Noida project land is auctioned and after discharging its liability of Rs 5,000 crore towards the Noida authority, the owner of the land, and LIC, there will be a surplus Rs 1,200 crore for refund and for completion of projects that are at a high stage of construction.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra, sought his parole on the ground that he needed to work towards raising money, completion and granting possession of flats to homebuyers.
Chandra is seeking interim bail from the apex court after the Delhi High Court had on August 11 last year rejected the plea in a criminal case lodged in 2015 by 158 home buyers of Unitech projects’ — ‘Wild Flower Country’ and ‘Anthea Project’ — in Gurgaon.
On January 29, Unitech had told the bench that it had finalised a Rs 400-crore deal for the sale of two land parcels in Chennai that would enable it to complete unfinished projects and refund buyers. In this regard, Omshakthy Agencies (Madras) has been asked to deposit Rs 90 crore for the sale of land in Chennai by March 31.
The real estate company was required to deposit Rs 750 crore by December to secure bail for Chandra, who is in jail in a case of alleged forgery lodged by buyers of a Unitech housing project in Gurgaon. It has deposited `18 crore till date.
Earlier, the top court had stayed the December 8 order of the National Company Law Tribunal allowing the Centre to take over the management of embattled realty firm Unitech. The tribunal had suspended all the eight directors of the realty firm over allegations of mismanagement and siphoning of funds and had authorised the Centre to appoint its 10 nominees on the board. However, the government later withdrew its petition.