Cracking its whip on Unitech, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Dhingra committee to sell all the unencumbered personal assets of the directors of the company to raise funds for completion of unfinished projects and refund dues to its homebuyers. Even though the apex court took the harsh step, Unitech said that all the assets of its directors are already encumbered.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also gave approval for leasing out two parcels of land in Kolkata after senior counsel Ranjit Kumar Sinha, on behalf of Unitech, informed the court that the US-based Candor Investment is willing to pay Rs 116 crore for leases for the two land parcels. Candor Investment, which managed property for the London-based Unitech Corporate Parks, was bought by Brookfield Asset Management in 2014.
The committee headed by former Delhi High Court judge SN Dhingra was formed in May to identify and auction the unencumbered properties of the company, sale proceeds of which will be used to refund money to homebuyers as well as other interested parties. Last month, the company under the supervision of the committee sold a land parcel in Bengaluru for Rs 97 crore to Devas Global Services.
The apex court also said that homebuyers who have received favourable judgments from the consumer courts will be given preference while refunding the money. A total of 4,688 homebuyers have claimed refunds amounting to Rs 1,865 crore from Unitech. They had booked their flats in various housing projects launched by the company.
During the hearing on Tuesday, HDFC Bank told the bench that Unitech was trying to sell its encumbered assets despite a bar on selling them. However, Unitech denied the allegation.
Unitech was supposed to deposit Rs 750 crore by December to secure bail for its promoter-managing director Sanjay Chandra. He is seeking interim bail from the apex court after the Delhi High Court on August 11 last year rejected his plea in a criminal case lodged in 2015 by 158 home buyers of Unitech projects Wild Flower Country and Anthea Project in Gurugram.
The next date of hearing has been fixed for September 11.