The Supreme Court today directed the non-institutional directors of embattled real estate firm Jaiprakash Associate Limited (JAL) to appear in person before it next week and furnish details of their personal assets. The top court's direction came in the wake of its September 11 directive to the JAL to deposit Rs 2,000 crore by October 27 to protect the interests of hassled homebuyers and creditors. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, which has now fixed the matter for hearing on November 22, also ordered setting up of a web portal, as done in other cases filed by homebuyers against real estate firms, where homebuyers can lodge grievances regarding non-payment of money or non-delivery of flats by Jaypee Infratech Ltd, a group firm of JAL. It had earlier restrained the managing director and the directors of Jaypee Infratech Ltd from travelling abroad without its prior permission and asked the parent company, Jaypee Associates Ltd (JAL), to deposit the money. It has now asked the directors of JAL to furnish details of their personal assets on November 22, the next date of hearing. During the hearing, the company said it was willing to deposit to Rs 700 crore.
However, the plea was opposed by one of its bankers, ICICI Bank, on the ground that it would not be feasible as the process of loan restructuring was on. Meanwhile, the court also appointed advocate Pawan Shree Agrawal, as an amicus curiae who would set up the web portal to enable the homebuyers of the Jaypee Infratech register their grievances. The apex court had on November 6 refused to allow the company to deposit to Rs 400 crore with its registry as against Rs 2,000 crore as directed earlier. It had then asked the firm to consider depositing at least Rs 1,000 crore by today with its registry. The top court had asked Jaypee Infratech to hand over the records to the interim resolution professional (IRP) to draft a resolution plan indicating protection of interests of over 32,000 hassled home buyers and creditors. It also stayed any proceedings instituted against Jaypee Infratech for any purpose in any forum like the consumer commission, as the IRP has been given control of the company's management. The court had also appointed senior advocate Shekhar Naphade as amicus curiae to assist the proceedings of the IRP, which will submit a resolution plan indicating how to safeguard the interest of home buyers and secured creditors. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board, had said that 627 units have been delivered to home buyers since the proceedings against the company began. Homebuyers including one Chitra Sharma had moved the apex court saying that around 32,000 people had booked their flats and they are now dying and paying the installments. The top court had on September 4 stayed the insolvency proceedings against the real estate firm at National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). Flat buyers, under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code of 2016, do not fall in the category of secured creditors like banks and hence they can get back their money only if something is left after repaying the secured and operational creditors, Sharma, in her plea, said. Hundreds of home buyers have been left in the lurch after the NCLT, on August 10, admitted the IDBI Bank's plea to initiate insolvency proceedings against the debt-ridden realty company for defaulting on a Rs 526 crore loan, the plea said.
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