Supreme Court refuses bail to Unitech promoters
24 January 2019
The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to grant bail to Unitech promoters Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra, in a case relating to alleged siphoning off home-buyers’ money through its Gurgram project.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said they have not complied with its 30 October 2017 order directing them to deposit Rs750 crore with the registrar of the court.
The two have been lodged in Tihar jail for over one-and-a-half years and have now sought bail on the ground that they have complied with the apex court order and have deposited over Rs400 crore.
The Supreme Court had on 30 October 2017 ordered that Unitech managing director Sanjay Chandra will be granted bail only after the real estate group deposits Rs750 crore with the registry.
However, the court directed the jail authorities to facilitate Chandra’s meeting with his company officials and lawyers so as to help him arrange the money for refunding home buyers as well as for completing the ongoing housing projects.
The visit to the jail should be made during normal visiting hours as per the rules and Chandra’s counsel can also go there to meet him.
“The jail authorities shall also arrange a place where the petitioners will be in a position to negotiate,” it said, while asking them to “make the video conferencing facility available to the petitioners within the visiting hours so that they shall be in a position to negotiate“.
The Supreme Court, however, made it clear that Chandra was only entitled to negotiate in respect of unencumbered properties or assets of the group.
It also said that if any proceedings are pending against Chandra and the company, that may continue and the final order may be passed but no coercive steps would be taken for executing those orders.
While Unitech owes home buyers more than Rs2,000 crore, some buyers have sought possession of flats rather than return of money, counsel appearing for Chandra informed the court.
He told the court that if they were given liberty, they would monetise their assets and would be able to complete the ongoing housing projects so that the buyers, who intend to have possession of flats, are satisfied.
The amicus curaie in the case informed the court that around 9,390 home buyers, out of a total of around 16,000, have responded to him on the issue of either seeking refund from the builder or getting possession of flats.
He said around 4,700 buyers wanted refund.
The matter pertains to a criminal case lodged in 2015 by 158 home buyers of Unitech projects’ -- ‘Wild Flower Country’ and ‘Anthea Project’ -- situated in Gurugram.