SC to hear Unitech plaint against NCLT's takeover order

The Supreme Court will start hearing an appeal filed by Unitech Limited challenging an order of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) directing the central government to take over the management of the insolvent real estate firm.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission of the real estate firm that its bank accounts have been frozen and the company and its jailed promoters are finding it difficult to deposit Rs 750 crore as asked by the apex court.

In a rare move, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Friday allowed the government to appoint new management for real-estate giant Unitech Ltd and take control of the real estate major that has left thousands of home buyers in the lurch.

The NCLT also invoked the provisions of the Companies Act to allow the central government to take over Unitech and appoint its nominee directors in the board of the realty company.

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the company sought urgent hearing in the case as the government has taken control of the entire firm, leaving no space for the company promoters to raise resources.

The SC had, on 20 November, directed Tihar Jail authorities to grant the jailed managing director of Unitech, Sanjay Chandra, facility to strike deals with prospective buyers and raise the Rs750 crore it had asked to deposit to safeguard the interests of homebuyers.

The apex court had on, 30 October, told the jailed businessman that he would be granted bail only after the real estate group deposits money with its registry by December-end.

The Unitech MD had had sought interim bail from the apex court after the Delhi High Court on 11 August rejected the plea in a criminal case lodged in 2015 by 158 home buyers of Unitech projects' - 'Wild Flower Country' and 'Anthea Project' - in Gurugram.

On 8 November, the NCLT removed all Unitech directors and allowed the government to appoint new management for real estate giant. The NCLT agreed to the government's plea and issued notices to Unitech's existing directors, who are now restrained from acting as board members.

The two-member bench, headed by chairman justice MM Kumar, said the government can appoint 10 nominee directors, whose names it will examine on 20 December, the next date of hearing.