A Supreme Court bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra, on August 21, 2018, asked a panel headed by former Delhi High Court judge, justice SN Dhingra, to go ahead with the sale of unencumbered assets of the directors of real estate major Unitech Ltd. The bench, also comprising justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, directed the panel to proceed with the sale of the firm’s properties in Kolkata and asked the committee to disburse Rs 25 crores to home buyers, on pro rata basis. It also allowed lawyer Pawanshree Agarwal, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae, to appoint two more persons to help him in the process.
“The committee may proceed with the sale/auction of unencumbered assets of the directors (of Unitech Ltd),” the bench said and posted the matter for further hearing on September 11, 2018. The court had, on July 5, 2018, asked the justice Dhingra panel 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 earlier 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.
The Income Tax Department had also moved the apex court, for making itself a party in the ongoing litigation, claiming that the real estate firm owed it Rs 950 crores as tax. Sanjay Chandra, the MD of the firm and his brother Ajay Chandra, are in jail. The apex court had asked all directors of Unitech Ltd and its subsidiaries, to furnish details of their personal assets and warned them that if Rs 100 crores was not deposited by May 11, 2018, their assets would be auctioned. Sanjay Chandra, the MD, is seeking interim bail from the apex court, after the Delhi High Court, on August 11, 2017, had rejected the plea in a criminal case lodged in 2015 by 158 home buyers of Unitech projects – ‘Wild Flower Country’ and ‘Anthea Project’ – situated at Gurugram, in Haryana.