Buyers say Unitech never began work on their flats, MD held

The complainants say they spent their life savings in buying homes in the project, launched by the company in 2011, but Unitech is yet to start work on it.

Written by Anindya Thakuria | New Delhi | Published: April 2, 2017 3:03:17 am
Unitech’s Anthea Floors was to be built at this site in Gurgaon. Manoj Kumar

A Delhi court Saturday sent Unitech managing director Sanjay Chandra and his brother Ajay Chandra to police custody till the afternoon of April 3 for allegedly duping people who bought homes in Gurgaon’s Anthea Floors housing project. The Chandras were arrested late Friday night by the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police in connection with a complaint filed by more than 90 home buyers. The complainants say they spent their life savings in buying homes in the project, launched by the company in 2011, but Unitech is yet to start work on it.

Seeking police custody of the accused, the Delhi Police said the company collected Rs 203 crore from home buyers in the months following the launch of the project in July, 2011. At the time, Unitech had a valid licence for the project, it said. However, in October the same year, the company submitted a revised plan for the project, which was not approved by authorities. The accused have been charged with fraud, criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust, among other offences. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ashu Garg said the case will be heard next on April 3.

“We need his custody to probe the money trail. The bank accounts of the company (related to this project) have some Rs 10 lakh in them, but no construction has happened. We need to find out where the money went, we need to probe who the beneficiaries are,” said the lawyer for Delhi Police. Vijay Agrawal, lawyer for the Chandras, argued that this is a case of “project delay” and there is no need for police remand. “They want to probe the money trail, why do they need the accused in custody for that,” asked Agrawal, adding that money was raised was through cheques and bank loans and all of it was accounted for.

A total of 516 bookings were made after the project launch. In 2015, following non-delivery of houses, some home buyers filed a complaint against the company. The lawyer for the complainants, Varun Chopra, said the FIR was originally lodged in 2015. In November 2016, while upholding the FIR, the court had left the discretion of arrest to the investigating agencies, which is why the arrests were made only on Friday. Chopra said that two-day custody may not be sufficient for police to complete interrogation of the brothers.

Chandras’ lawyer argued before the court that the project had been delayed because of the bad business climate in the country and that the company would deliver the houses.
The lawyer for the home buyers pointed out that the project was started in 2011 when the business climate was a lot different, and alleged that the company did not have a licence to conduct construction in the first place.

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