SC refuses custody parole to Unitech MD, orders refund to home buyers

Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant for the time being 'custody parole' to Sanjay Chandra, the jailed managing director of real estate firm Unitech Limited, and ordered disbursal of money on "pro rata" basis to those home buyers who have judicial orders in their favour.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered the fact that around Rs 420 million had been deposited today with the apex court registry after the sale of some assets of the real estate firm.

The bench, also comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said the home buyers, who have secured orders in their favour from the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) and the Real Estate Regulatory Authority, be refunded money on "pro rata" (proportional) basis after proper verification of the documents by lawyer Pawanshree Agarwal, who is assisting the court as the amicus curiae.

So far, nearly Rs 1.02 billion has been deposited with the apex court registry.

"I am not seeking bail at the moment. I am seeking custody parole. Please consider this," senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the jailed directors, said, adding that within a few days, the accused would complete one year in jail having been arrested on August 9 last year.

The senior lawyer said that the directors were unable to arrange funds smoothly as they were in jail.

The bench, however, refused to pass any order to this effect for the time being.

Sanjay Chandra and his brother Ajay are at present in jail.

The bench also directed the firm to file within a week the "status report with regard to the projects where major part of the work is complete and suggest a plan how to complete the balance work."

It also made clear that the Justice S N Dhingra panel would continue with its task of auctioning the properties of Unitech Ltd for ensuring refund to the home buyers.

Earlier, the court had asked the panel headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice Dhingra to proceed with the auction of Unitech Ltd's unencumbered properties at Agra and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu to refund money to home buyers.

The top court had set up the three-member panel for "expeditious" auction of over 600 acres of land of the real estate firm for refunding money to home buyers who do not want possession of their homes or flats.

It had also directed Unitech Ltd to submit a list of all properties of the company, its subsidiaries and personal properties of all the directors.

Sanjay Chandra, the MD, was seeking interim bail from the apex court after the Delhi High Court had on August 11 last year rejected the plea in a criminal case lodged in 2015 by 158 home buyers of Unitech projects -- 'Wild Flower Country' and 'Anthea Project' -- situated in Gurgaon in Haryana.