The Supreme Court today refused to grant interim bail to jailed real estate firm Unitech's promoters Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra and said it will consider their pleas only after the data of homebuyers seeking refund is collated. The apex court directed the amicus curiae (court's friend) to create a website by September 21, in which the home buyers could upload their details and claim flat or refund from the company. The jailed Chandra brothers are seeking interim bail from the apex court after the Delhi High Court on August 11 rejected their pleas in a criminal case lodged in 2015 by 158 home buyers of Unitech projects' --'Wild Flower Country' and 'Anthea Project'-- situated in Gurugram. "We will consider the plea for bail after the data of home buyers seeking refund or flats is collated. Let the matter be listed on September 21.
The amicus curiae should inform the court about the link of website by next date of hearing," a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said. Advocate Pawan Shree Aggarwal, who has been appointed as amicus curiae to assist in the matter, said he has so far come to know about 55 projects of the company and in nine projects, an estimated Rs 1800 crores have been paid by about 4000 home buyers to the firm. "We are currently looking at 17,000 flat buyers in 74 projects of the company. We need time to collate the data and give the complete picture to the court," Agarwal said. Advocate Abhimanyu Bhandari, appearing for the company promoters, said that interim bail should be granted to them as they have to look after the interest of investors who are seeking refund or flats. The bench observed that the company has earlier said that it has liability of only Rs 55 crore. "You have to furnish every detail about all the projects to the amicus who shall collate the data about the home buyers seeking refund, flats or plots, so that we have a complete clear picture," the bench said. The bench said it will consider the bail plea after the data is collated and the court gets a complete picture about the refunds to the home buyers. The apex court had on September 8 assured the hassled home buyers, who had booked flats in Unitech group projects, of refund of their investment or delivery of their homes while cautioning the promoters that they will not get bail till the customers' grievances are redressed. The court had asked amicus Aggrawal to furnish details including the number of projects of the Unitech group, number of flat buyers seeking either refund or flats, the amount of money already refunded by the group and number of flat buyers who have been paid the principal amount. The Chandra brothers had told the court that they have complied with all conditions imposed by the court and, as on date, Rs 20 crore has been deposited in compliance with the earlier order. The apex court had on September 1 said that although it is absolutely conscious that it is dealing with an application for bail, but "the consumers who have invested their money in various projects undertaken by the petitioners cannot be allowed to lurch in the dark. Their problem has to be solved". It had said that settlement of the problem can take place in two ways--the consumers who are inclined to take possession of the flats can opt for the same and those who wanted their money back shall get the amount along with interest.
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