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SFIO informs SC it has prepared report on irregularities in Unitech, seeks permission to file it in sealed cover

The Supreme Court bench permitted SFIO to file the report in a sealed cover and has listed the matter for further hearing on October 6.

The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) on September 29 informed the Supreme Court it has prepared a report on the irregularities in the embattled company Unitech Ltd and has located some of its properties and that it be permitted to file its report in a sealed cover.

Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan, appearing for the SFIO, told the bench that the SFIO had prepared its report on its investigation into Unitech Ltd and that they have found a few properties of the group for which they require clarification.

A few properties are overlapping with those found by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), she informed the bench of justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath, and BV Nagarathna.

The bench told Divan that SFIO could file its report in a sealed cover and that the matter would be taken up on October 6.

The bench was earlier scheduled to meet on September 30.

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The Supreme Court on August 26 had said that the Enforcement Directorate’s reports about the conduct of promoters of the embattled firm Unitech Group and the connivance of Tihar jail staff in flouting the orders and undermining the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court have raised serious and disturbing issues and directed that Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra be shifted from Tihar Jail here to Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail and Taloga jail in Maharashtra.

Also Read: SC permits Unitech Group's new board of management to discuss claims with three ARCs

It had also directed that Delhi Police Commissioner personally hold an inquiry about the conduct of Tihar Jail staff with regard to Chandras and submit the report to the court within four weeks.

The Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating money laundering charges against Unitech’s Chandras, revealed to the Supreme Court on August 26 that Ramesh Chandra and Sanjay Chandra were operating a "secret underground office” in South Delhi from Tihar jail. The office was visited by his sons Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra when on parole or bail.

Also Read: Supreme Court directs ED, police to file status reports on the probe against Unitech, ex-promoters by September 30

It said in its report that the Chandras have rendered the entire judicial custody meaningless as they have been freely communicating, instructing their officials, and disposing of properties from inside the jail in connivance with the prison staff there.

Vivek Tyagi, President, All India Association of Unitech Homebuyers, told Moneycontrol that the steps taken by SFIO and ED to recover homebuyers’ siphoned money is a welcome step and we are hopeful to get justice now.

However, the new board of management of Unitech Group should look into issues of quality of construction and setting up an escrow account for each of the projects. “We have written to the finance minister regarding this matter,” he added.

The top court in its October 2017 order had asked them to deposit Rs 750 crore with the apex court registry by December 31, 2017. Both Sanjay and Ajay are accused of allegedly siphoning home buyers' money. The Chandra brothers have claimed that they complied with the court's conditions and they have deposited an amount in excess of Rs 750 crore and, therefore, they are granted bail.

On August 25, the Supreme Court permitted the new board of management of Unitech Group to hold negotiations with the three Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs) about the outstanding dues and the settlement agreement and apprise it within four weeks.

Besides ED and SFIO, the Economic Offence Wing of Delhi Police is also conducting an investigation into the affairs of the Unitech Group.

The matter pertains to a criminal case which started initially by one complaint lodged in 2015 and later joined by 173 other homebuyers of Unitech projects, Wild Flower Country and Anthea located in Gurugram.

On January 20, 2020, the Supreme Court had allowed the Centre to take total management control of the embattled firm and appoint a new board of nominee directors.
Vandana Ramnani
first published: Sep 29, 2021 03:32 pm

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