Noting that several requests for refund have been received from homebuyers of Unitech Ltd who are above 75 years of age, fixed deposit holders and persons in urgent need of money due to medical urgency to expedite their applications for refund, the Supreme Court on April 27 directed the amicus curiae to open the web portal for the purpose until May 15.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah sought the data to be uploaded on a web portal meant for the home buyers, which will be opened for a stipulated period till May 15.
“The portal will be opened in a day or two. For flat buyers, fixed deposit holders, senior citizens, people with medical urgencies, the apex court has directed that flat buyers and fixed deposit holders may scan and upload their medical documents on the portal as also details of their date of birth,” amicus curiae Pawan Shree Agarwal told Moneycontrol.
Also read: SC seeks ED's reply on steps taken to bring back Unitech's home buyer's money stashed in Cyprus
This compilation will enable the court to have a clear picture of the extent of the outflow of the money. The next date of hearing on the refund matter is May 18.
On or before May 15, all flat buyers who are registered in the portal shall email a request under the direction of this court to upload the details of the date of birth of the sole flat buyer or joint flat buyer as the case may be, the bench said.
It said that to compile the age profile of flat buyers, based on the information which will be received on the web portal, the amicus curiae and present board of management of Unitech shall jointly compile the data and submit a report of flat buyers above the age of 70 years and flat buyers between the age of 65 and 75, who have opted for refunds.
The Bench issued directions to advocate Pawan Shree Agarwal, to keep the web portal open until May 15.
Unitech's board of management also informed the Supreme Court that subject to statutory approvals and availability of funds, it will be able to deliver 1,000 to 1,500 flats in nine to 12 months starting from August this year. The next date of hearing is May 5.
Providing relief to over 15,000 homebuyers of Unitech, the top court had on January 20, 2020, permitted the Centre to take total management control of the embattled firm and approved the name of retired Haryana cadre IAS officer Yudvir Singh Malik as chairman and managing director (CMD) of the new board, while directing the existing board of directors of the company would stand superseded.
The top court was also informed by the Delhi government that steps, as directed by the top court, have been taken to remove the mobile towers from the vicinity of Tihar jail premises and detailed SOPs are being finalised by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Department of Telecom.
The Supreme Court also issued notice to the Enforcement Directorate on a plea of Preeti Chandra, wife of former promoter of Unitech Group Sanjay Chandra seeking permission to move the trial court for bail in the money laundering case.
On April 20, the court had directed the enforcement directorate to file a status report on steps taken to bring back Unitech Ltd homebuyers' money amounting to Rs 5,000 crore which has been siphoned off and stashed in a tax haven like Cyprus. The top court had also appointed former Supreme Court Judge AM Sapre to look into the policy and finalization of standard operating procedure for monetization of project land assets and non-project land assets of Unitech.
The ED had recently filed a fresh charge sheet before a court here in connection with its money laundering probe against Unitech Group, its ex-promoter brothers Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra, and others.
The ED had made a startling claim last year that it had unearthed a secret underground office here, which was being operated by erstwhile Unitech founder Ramesh Chandra and visited by his sons Sanjay and Ajay when on parole or bail.
The Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating money laundering charges against Unitech’s Chandras, had revealed to the Supreme Court on August 26, 2021 that Ramesh Chandra and Sanjay Chandra were operating a "secret underground office” in South Delhi from the Tihar jail. The office was visited by his sons Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra when on parole or bail.
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.
Both Sanjay and Ajay, in jail since August 2017, are accused of allegedly siphoning off home buyers' money.