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SC refuses relief to Unitech promoters, directs disbursal of Rs 25 crore deposited in court among homebuyers

Next date of hearing fixed for August 21


The Supreme Court Friday refused to grant custody parole to embattled real estate company Unitech’s promoter Sanjay Chandra and directed that the Rs 25 crore deposited with the court registry be disbursed among homebuyers who have sought a refund.

The next date of hearing has been fixed for August 21.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud directed the amicus curiae in the case, Pawanshree Agarwal, to disburse Rs 25 crore deposited by Unitech to homebuyers seeking a refund.

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The sale of the Bengaluru property was confirmed in court Friday. The sale deed has been executed for Rs 49 crore. The company has deposited Rs 42.73 crore in court after tax deduction at source (TDS). It had already deposited Rs 5 crore, legal sources present at the hearing say.

Out of Rs 42.73 crore deposited, only Rs 25 crore was ordered to be disbursed among homebuyers. The balance amount has been retained, sources said.

The court has ordered that Rs 25 crore be distributed among the homebuyers who have a favourable order of refund by any court or forum, Pawanshree Agarwal, amicus curiae told Moneycontrol.

Earlier on July 17, the apex court had allowed Devas LLP, the company which had bought Unitech's Bengaluru land, to execute a sale deed for the parcel, and deposit an amount of Rs 44 crore within 10 days in the court. The worth of the Bengaluru land bought by Devas is Rs 97 crore. Out of this amount, Unitech's share is Rs 49 crore. Devas had submitted Rs 5 crore with the registry, legal sources had said.

At the last hearing, the apex court had also directed Wisdom World Developers, a subsidiary of Bengaluru-based India Builders Corporation, that had sought acquisition of the Unitech Gold and Country Club (UGCC) land in Noida, to prove its bonafide by depositing Rs 15 crore with the court.

That amount has also been deposited in court, Aggarwal said.

Notices have also been issued to Noida Authority and LIC for giving a response on that application, he said.

At the hearing on July 5, the court had directed Aggarwal to consider the proposal made by Wisdom World Developers for UGCC after the firm’s counsel had informed court the company will construct and deliver the projects to the homebuyers and clear the dues of LIC and Noida Authority. UGCC land in Noida is spread across 378 acres and is located in Sectors 96, 97 and 98 in Noida. It comprises of projects such as Unitech Amber, Unitech Burgundy, and Unitech Willows.

On July 5, the apex court had also asked Unitech to submit details of projects which have been 90 percent completed so that a decision can be reached with regard to the number of buyers seeking possession.

In the last hearing, Supreme Court had directed the committee it had set up in the Unitech case, to speedily auction over 600 acres of unencumbered land properties of the embattled firm located in Agra, Varanasi, Bengaluru, and Sriperumbudur near Chennai so that money is refunded to homebuyers

The bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had asked the panel to complete the process of auctioning the land properties of the firm at Agra within four weeks and conclude auctioning of the properties in Varanasi and Sriperumbudur within six weeks.

The bench at the last hearing had directed Unitech Ltd to submit a list of all properties of the company, its subsidiaries and personal properties of all the directors.

The bench had also asked Agarwal, who is assisting the court as the amicus curiae, and the counsel for the real estate firm to "sit together" for verification of the homebuyers and their actual claims for refund.

On July 15, as many as 200 homebuyers representing several projects of Unitech had tried to march towards the prime minister’s residence to protest the Centre’s decision not to take over the company’s board. In December last year, the corporate affairs ministry had approached the National Company law Tribunal with an offer to take over Unitech Ltd. The takeover was later challenged by Unitech in Supreme Court.

The apex court had on October 30 last year said that its MD Sanjay Chandra would be granted bail only after the real estate group deposited money (Rs 750 crore) with its registry by December-end. It has so far deposited around Rs 80 crore, Aggarwal said.

The top court had also directed the jail authorities to facilitate Chandra's meeting with his company officials and lawyers so that he could arrange money to refund the home-buyers as well as complete the ongoing housing projects.

Chandra is seeking interim bail from the apex court after the Delhi High Court on August 11 last year had rejected the plea in a criminal case lodged in 2015 by 158 home-buyers of Unitech projects' -- 'Wild Flower Country' and 'Anthea Project' -- situated in Gurgaon in Haryana.

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First Published on Jul 27, 2018 07:31 pm
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