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SC permits Unitech to start construction, issues directions to home buyers

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday permitted the new Unitech management to start construction activities by allowing the management to award 49 contracts as recommended by former SC judge A.M. Sapre.

The court also issued directions to the home buyers, Noida and Greater Noida authorities.

The three-judge bench, headed by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud firstly directed home buyers who have opted for possession of completed units to pay the remaining amount as per the payment plan uploaded on the website.

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In case the home buyers who have opted for possession of a completed unit don’t comply, then an interest rate of 9% per annum will apply.

Secondly, the court said that those home buyers who have opted for a refund earlier can opt to change their preference as a ‘one-time measure’ by sending their details to a designated email account by December 15.

Third, those homebuyers who received a partial refund earlier but now seek possession, shall now repay the refund which is the principal amount within 8 weeks.

Fourth, the bench directed that NOIDA and Greater Noida shall sit together to submit a revised plan before this court regarding the commencement of construction.

Additional Solicitor General, S.V. Raju who appeared for the new management apprised the bench that these orders were required for for some positive outcome in the case.

The apex court also heard the bail plea of jailed Unitech Ltd Managing Director Sanjay Chandra.

ASG Raju, while appearing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), said that a large number of home buyers have not got their houses. He said that Chandra may approach the trial court but there must not be an impression that this court asked him to approach the trial court.

He informed the court that Chandra still had to submit Rs 750 crore.

However, Senior Advocate Siddharth Dave appearing for Chandra said that Rs 750 crore is for the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) case and not the ED case. Dave argued that in the EOW case, the maximum term is 7 years and Chandra has already served 6 years in that case.

The CJI said that the court will take up the case only as part of the Unitech case and has directed both sides to come back with the details on Monday.

Chandra and his brother Ajay were arrested in 2017 for allegedly siphoning homebuyers’ money after a criminal case was lodged against the company in 2015 by 158 homebuyers of the reality firm’s Wild Flower Country and Anthea projects in Gurugram. In February 2020, the apex court reconstituted the Unitech board. The seven-member board submitted a resolution plan to the top court in August 2020.

According to estimates, Unitech owes the Noida Authority Rs 8,000 crore and has pending bank payments worth nearly Rs 5,000 crore excluding interest.

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