Delhi

SC refuses Unitech plea for bail to jailed promoters

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You created your own predicament, Chief Justice tells lawyers representing the brothers

Despite an impassioned plea in court by Unitech’s bosses for bail, the Supreme Court on Friday refused the plea for bail of jailed Unitech promoters Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra in a case of alleged forgery lodged by home buyers of its Gurugram-based housing project.

Data compiled

“You created your own predicament,” Chief Justice Dipak Misra, heading a three-judge Bench, addressed lawyers representing the Chandra brothers.

The Bench, also comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, was taken aback when amicus curiae in the case, advocate Pawan Shree Aggarwal, informed that data compiled from just nine of a total 74 projects of the company show that 4,000 home buyers belonging to the middle and lower income groups have invested approximately ₹1,800 crore. “What troubles us is that investment is as high as ₹1,800 for just nine projects...” Justice Misra observed.

Mr. Aggarwal informed the court that anxious home buyers thronged his office and it was getting difficult to collate data from them.

Online portal

The court then directed him to open an online portal where home buyers could key in the details of their purchase of the flat or villa and cite their preference, that is, whether they want their money back or want to take possession of their flats. Once this is done, the amicus could easily take the data from the portal, analyse and collate them to be placed on record. They fixed the next hearing on September 21.

Mr. Aggrawal was directed by the court to furnish details, including the number of projects of the Unitech group, number of flat buyers seeking either refund or flats, the amount of money already refunded by the group and number of flat buyers who have been paid the principal amount.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for the jailed company promoters, pressed for bail, saying they would be of help to the home buyers if they are released.

“The clamour for justice cannot silence the whisper of reason,” one of the lawyers quipped. But the court refused the plea for the time being, while observing that it wanted the data on the home buyers to be collated first to see the magnitude of the issue before them.

Criminal case

“Whoever [investors] wants their money back will get their money back, and those who want flats will get their flats,” Justice Misra had observed in a previous hearing.

The brothers are seeking interim bail from the SC after the Delhi High Court on August 11 rejected their plea in a criminal case lodged in 2015 by 158 home buyers of Unitech projects.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 10:19:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/sc-refuses-unitech-plea-for-bail-to-jailed-promoters/article19694959.ece

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