ALSO READSebi may cap cross-holding in MFs at 10% to avoid conflict of interest CBI misled HC that Rs 2.5 bn spent on Bofors probe: BJP leader tells SC Consider e-message for refunds, share allotments: Sebi to firms Sebi issues standard format for filing of application under SAST norms Hiranandani moves HC, seeks quashing of chargesheet in graft, cheating case
The Supreme Court today directed a company, which is negotiating with embattled realtor Unitech Ltd to purchase land in Chennai valued at around Rs 4 billion, to deposit Rs 0.9 billion by March 31 in the apex court registry.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar asked Omshakthy Agencies (Madras) Pvt Ltd to deposit the amount after Unitech informed the court that there was an agreement for sale of pieces of land between the two firms.
However, the apex court did not comment on the fervent request of Unitech Ltd Managing Director Sanjay Chandra, who is currently in jail, to grant him custody parole for 10-15 days to enable him to negotiate with interested buyers and arrange money for refunding the homebuyers and complete the ongoing housing projects.
However, the counsel representing the official told the bench that as per the agreement of sale with Unitech, the entire amount of Rs 4 billion was to be paid by June 2019 and by March 31 this year, the company has to pay Rs 900 million.
"Let him (official of the company) deposit Rs 900 million on or before March 31, 2018," the bench then said.
Advocate Pawanshree Agrawal, assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the matter, referred to an application filed by some investors saying that Unitech could sell three of its housing projects and get money to pay Rs 20 billion to the Noida Authority and over Rs 2 billion to the LIC. The company would then have a tranche of Rs 10 billion with it.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Chandra, said he would file a response to the suggestion given in the application.
He also repeatedly requested the bench to grant custody parole to Chandra.
"I (Chandra) am in jail for seven months. There is an onerous task for me. I (Chandra) am trying my best," Kumar said, adding, "The Supreme Court has asked me to give Rs 7.5 billion for bail. I want to come out (of jail). Give me custody parole. Every buyer does not want to come to the jail to meet me".
When the amicus said that Unitech's Chairman Ramesh Chandra was there to look after these things, Kumar said, "the amicus should be neutral. He should not be speaking for the homebuyers only. This is not fair to me."
Kumar also said that construction of six housing projects of Unitech was going on and in December last year, they have completed 600 flats.
After the counsel said he would respond to the suggestions given by the amicus, the bench posted the matter for hearing on March 5.
During the hearing, the amicus also told the bench that the homebuyers, who want possession of flats, should remove their names from the list of investors who want a refund of their money from Unitech.
Unitech had earlier told the apex court that they were negotiating with Omshakthy Agencies (Madras) Pvt Ltd to sell two portions of its land in Chennai for around Rs 1.7 billion and Rs 2.29 billion respectively.
The court had directed the jail authorities to facilitate Chandra's meeting with his company officials and lawyers so he could arrange money for refunding the homebuyers as well as for completing the ongoing housing projects.
It had last year directed the Tihar Jail authorities to grant adequate meeting time to Chandra for allowing him to strike deals with prospective buyers.
Chandra is seeking interim bail from the apex court after the Delhi High Court on August 11 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.