Economy

Whoever at helm, must refund homebuyers: SC to Unitech

Whoever at helm, must refund homebuyers: SC to Unitech

The Supreme Court of India on Monday made a decision to hear an submission against the recent order of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) that allowed the central government to appoint new management team for the debt-ridden real estate firm Unitech.

Real estate company Unitech on Monday moved the Supreme Court against an NCLT order which allowed the corporate affairs ministry to take over the management of the company.

At the previous hearing, NCLT suspended the Unitech board for alleged mismanagement of funds and barred its directors from selling either personal or company assets, while allowing the Centre to name 10 nominee directors and paving the way for a government takeover of the floundering property developer.

A bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra said that the matter would be heard on Tuesday.

In a rare move, the government approached the NCLT to take over the management with a view to protecting the interest of almost 20,000 home buyers.

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On coming to know that Centre had approached NCLT, the Bench asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta to take instructions how the new Board of Directors will repay money to homebuyers.

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who appeared on behalf of the embattled company on Monday, requested that the company's appeal be heard on an urgent basis.

The Unitech MD had had sought interim bail from the apex court after the Delhi High Court on 11 August rejected the plea in a criminal case lodged in 2015 by 158 home buyers of Unitech projects" - "Wild Flower Country" and "Anthea Project' - in Gurugram.

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Unitech Ltd and its jailed promoters, referred to the recent NCLT order and said the takeover of the management of the company by the Centre would make it hard for them to deposit Rs 750 crore as directed by the apex court to safeguard the interests of homebuyers. The company argues that it could not deposit Rs 750 crore, as asked by the apex court, as the company's bank accounts remain frozen and its promoters jailed, Economic Times reported. Sanjay and Ajay Chandra, the managing directors of the company, are now in prison in connection with a criminal case lodged by home buyers of two of the company's projects in Gurgaon.

Shares of Unitech today surged almost 20 per cent. The Unitech scrip had jumped 20 per cent on December 8, the day the order was issued, as well.


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