The Supreme Court Monday asked Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra to deposit at least Rs 1,000 crore in court for refunding home buyers who had invested in projects undertaken by the group. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra told Senior Counsel Ranjit Kumar, who appeared for Chandra, “it is our duty to ensure that they get refund”. The observation came when the court appointed Amicus Curiae in the case, advocate Pawan Shree Aggarwal, told the Bench that 4,688 homebuyers of Unitech wanted their money back, and, as per the company’s figure, the total refund amount comes to Rs 1,865 crore.
Kumar said, “I have deposited, but it’s negligible… I have deposited Rs 130 crore,” and sought more time. “There has to be some reasonable amount,” replied the CJI and asked Kumar why Unitech could not sell properties to raise the funds. “Deposit Rs 1,000 crore,” added CJI Misra.
The counsel said Chandra could not sell any of the properties since he was inside jail. “Being inside doesn’t help anyone in getting money…I want to (refund),” he said, and requested the court to grant him bail with any condition it deemed fit. “But for that you should show your bonafides,” the CJI said. The apex court also questioned the real estate firm why they cannot auction their properties to refund money to the home buyers and complete their housing projects. Kumar said the auction of properties would not fetch the desired amount. But some of the ready units scattered in 64 projects could be sold to raise money, he added.
The Bench, however, said properties can be put on auction to generate Rs 1,865 crore to refund the buyers. Kumar said he would take instructions on the issue and get back to the court, following which the Bench posted the matter on October 30. Aggarwal told the Bench that several home buyers had not provided details whether they want refund or possession of flats. He said that out of total 16,300 home buyers, 9,072 have provided their details on the portal started on the court’s order to facilitate addressing the concerns. Kumar told the court that there were around 4,320 buyers who wanted possession of flats.
The apex court, after the Delhi High Court order on August 11, had rejected the plea in a criminal case lodged in 2015 by 158 home buyers of Unitech projects’ —’Wild Flower Country’ and ‘Anthea Project’— in Gurgaon.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Monday also ordered its registry to disburse the principal amount of 26 home buyers who had booked flats in a Supertech project at Noida, whose demolition was ordered by the Allahabad High Court. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered the report of advocate Gaurav Agarawal, which said that out of several home buyers of Supertech’s twin Emerald Towers, 26 have not received any refund. The bench, which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said that Rs 20 crore has been deposited with the apex court registry by the real estate firm and the money would be used in paying back the principal amount to the home buyers who have received nothing in refund.
With PTI inputs