In a first-of-its-kind decision, the Supreme Court has ordered the auction of personal properties belonging to directors of real estate firm Unitech to refund hassled homebuyers. A Chief Justice bench directed a court-mandated committee led by former Delhi High Court judge Justice SN Dhingra to go ahead with the sale of unencumbered assests of Unitech directors, according to a PTI report.
Unitech directors’ personal assets to be auctioned to refund homebuyers
Two plots of land owned by Unitech in Kolkata will also go under the hammer, as directed by the bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and AM Khanwilkar. The bench asked the committee to disburse Rs 25 crore among the homebuyers on pro rata basis and allowed amicus curiae Pawanshree Agarwal to appoint two more persons to help him in the process.
Back in July, the apex court had asked the Dhingra committee to proceed with the auction of Unitech’s properties in Agra and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. The panel was formed in May for expeditious auction of Unitech assets worth over Rs 600 crore. The sale of personal assets of Unitech directors was ordered after the top court was informed that the sale of Agra assets was facing trouble.
On the other hand, Unitech sources, as quoted by The Times of India in a report said that this decision is too harsh on directors as most of them are paid employees. The sale of personal assets will cause a great deal of loss and hardship for the directors and families, the report said while quoting Unietch sources.
Moreover, the firm’s counsel informed the court that US-based Candor Investment has agreed to pay Rs 116 crore for Unietch’s two parcel of land in Kolkata. The court asked the firm to make a deposit of Rs 50 lakh in court registry to establish bona fide, the report further said. The Supreme Court will hear the matter on September 11 now.
The proceeds from the sale of these properties are to be utilised for refunding homebuyers as well as other interested entities. A total of 4,688 homebuyers have requested refunds to the tune of Rs 1,865 crore instead of the flats they booked in various projects by Unitech.
Unitech’s Managing Director Sanjay Chandra and his brother Ajay Chandra are in jail for nearly a year now. Sanjay has been seeking interim bail from the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court turned down his plea in August last year in a criminal case filed in 2015 by 158 homebuyers of Unitech projects Wild Flower Country and Anthea Project in Gurugram. The apex court had asked the firm to submit Rs 750 crore by December 31, 2017 to secure bail for its managing director, but it failed to do so.