The Supreme Court on Thursday asked a panel headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice SN Dhingra to go ahead with the auction of Unitech’s unencumbered properties in Agra, Varanasi and Sriperumbudur to raise funds to refund money to homebuyers.
A bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra fixed a four-week deadline to auction the Agra properties and six weeks to sell the assets in Varanasi and Sriperumbudur.
As per advocate Pawan Shree Agarwal, who is assisting the court in the matter, ₹600 crore will be raised through the auction. However, a shortfall of ₹1,400 crore will still remain as Unitech reportedly owes ₹2,000 crore to its buyers, who invested in the company’s real estate projects.
Unitech was also ordered to submit a list of all its unencumbered properties by July 9. Personal asset details of its directors, too, have to be furnished, the court ordered.
Meanwhile, the income tax department moved the apex court for making itself a party in the ongoing litigation, claiming that the real estate firm owed it ₹950 crore as tax. However, the court said it would not hear the department at this juncture.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar and advocate Abhimanyu Bhandari urged the court to allow custody parole to Unitech directors Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra. The two brothers have been in custody for over 325 days, they said.
“If they are out, they would be able to generate more funds,” the counsel said. The court did not pass any plea on the request.
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 homebuyers who do not want possession of their homes or flats anymore.
The court had set up the Justice Dhingra panel asking it to nominate a chartered accountant and a valuer in the committee for speedy auction of over
600 acres of unencumbered land of the firm.
The bench also asked Agarwal and Unitech’s counsel to sit together and verify the list of homebuyers so that refund can be made to genuine claims and there is no duplication.
The bench also asked Unitech to respond to the allegations of some homebuyers, who have taken possession of their flats, that the high-rise buildings neither have lifts, water or power backup.
It fixed July 16 as the next date of hearing.
Prior to this, 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 ₹100 crore was not deposited by May 11, their assets would be auctioned.