New Delhi, Aug 22: Affirming its strong stand against defaulting real estate firms, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a panel headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice S N Dhingra to go ahead with sale of unencumbered assets of the directors of real estate major Unitech Ltd to refund money to hassled home buyers.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra asked the panel to proceed with the sale of the firm’s properties in Kolkata.

The court had on July 5 asked the Justice Dhingra panel to proceed with 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.

Sanjay Chandra, the MD, is seeking interim bail from the apex court after the Delhi High Court on August 11 last year 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 Gurgaon in Haryana.

The top court also came down hard on the Amrapali Group saying that the only way to secure over Rs 5,112 crore from the real estate major for construction of pending projects by the NBCC (India) Ltd is to sell the individual properties of the directors of the company.

A bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice U.U. Lalit said that residential projects of Amrapali in the National Capital Region seem prima facie illegal and its real estate business is like “a well-operated cobweb”.

Amrapali Group has to “come out with clean hands”, the bench observed while directing it to provide detailed data of its unencumbered properties.

The court said: “It seems that it is a well-operated cobweb and once you get into it, you would not be able to come out of it. They have such huge liability to pay to NOIDA, Greater NOIDA, property taxes and secured creditors that what will be left after selling its unencumbered properties is pittance.”

The bench asked the realtor to file an affidavit in seven days having details of all the directors who have even served for a few months in the group and their individual properties and bank accounts, and made it clear that it would not touch the bona fide directors.

It also asked the group to clear the pending dues of electricity in the projects, observing that it is the company’s prime responsibility to clear all arrears.
On August 1, the bench had slammed the group for playing “fraud and dirty games” with it and ordered freezing of bank accounts of all the directors of its 40 firms, besides attaching their personal properties.