The Supreme Court of India refused to grant bail to Sanjay Chandra, Managing Director of real estate firm Unitech, and asked him to submit at least Rs 1,000 crore in order to prove his bona fides before he can come out of prison. The submitted amount could be used to compensate homebuyers who have claimed refunds against delayed handover of possession of homes they had bought from the company.
Representing Unitech, former solicitor general Ranjit Kumar requested the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud that his client is granted bail in order to help the recovery process. Kumar urged the bench to allow Chandra to come out of the prison for four weeks so that he can oversee the refund process to homebuyers. The court may appoint committee of lawyers to keep an eye on the recovery process.
The Supreme Court , however, refused to entertain this plea while suggesting that it may consider auctioning Unitech properties through a court-appointed receiver in the coming days. The idea came after Kumar suggested that Unitech can sell flats in 64 projects to refund its customers. Unitech reportedly owes a total of Rs Rs 7,800 to 16,300 homebuyers in 61 projects across the country.
According to amicus curiae Pawan Shree Agrawal, a total of Rs 1,865 crore is needed to refund the homebuyers claiming it. A total of 4,688 homebuyers have registered on the designated website to stake claims for Rs 1,865 crore. Out of them, 4,350 have opted for refunds, he added.
Many have not specified whether they want refunds or possession of the house they have paid for though, as they might not be aware, Agrawal said. Chief Justice Dipak Misra had asked Unitech home buyers to mention their preferences - refund or possession - at the designated website www.amicusunitech.in.
Unitech has already deposited Rs 20 crore, as directed by the Supreme Court earlier. Unitech promoters Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra have appealed for interim bail with the Supreme Court after Delhi High Court turned down their plea for the same in a criminal case lodged by homebuyers of two projects Unitech is running in Gurgaon.
The next hearing in the case has been scheduled on October 30.