Govt takeover of Unitech: NCLT should have taken our leave, says Supreme Court

The court was hearing an appeal filed by Unitech Ltd challenging the NCLT order allowing the Center to take over the firm's management.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | Mumbai | Published: December 13, 2017 1:04 am
Supreme Court on Rajiv murder conspiracy probe The Supreme Court of India (Express Photo/Premnath Pandey)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday aired its displeasure over the National Company Law tribunal (NCLT) passing orders in mater of realty firm Unitech Limited.

“The leave of this court, which is seized of the matter, should have been taken by the NCLT,” a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud observed, adding, “we are only asking that we are seized of the matter and the NCLT is passing the order”.

The bench asked Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who represented the Centre why it had not taken the apex court’s leave to move NCLT seeking suspension of Unitech’s directors and their substitution by government nominees.

The ASG said he will seek instruction on the issue and appraise the court on Wednesday.

The court was hearing an appeal filed by Unitech Ltd challenging the NCLT order allowing the Center to take over the firm’s management.

Senior Advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Unitech and its promoters, said the apex court had allowed company Managing Director Sanjay Chandra, who is in jail, to negotiate to sell his assets and deposit in the court registry Rs 750 crore for refunding money to home buyers who had invested in the firm’s projects. However, the Centre approached the NCLT which passed the interim order allowing the takeover by the Centre without issuing notice to the firm or its directors, claimed Rohtagi.

“I have serious apprehension about the manner in which the petition was filed and entertained by the NCLT despite the fact that the Supreme Court was seized of the matter,” he said, adding “no judicial tribunal can pass such an order”.

Acting on a plea by the Centre, the Tribunal had on November 8 suspended all the eight directors of the realty firm over allegations of mismanagement and siphoning of funds and authorised the Centre to appoint its 10 nominees on the board.

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