Real Estate

SFIO seeks Apex court nod to file report on probe into affairs of Unitech

PTI New Delhi | Updated on September 29, 2021

Says it had prepared a report on the company's irregularities and found some of its properties.

The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it has prepared a report on irregularities in Unitech Ltd and has found some of its properties.

The SFIO sought permission to file its report in a sealed cover, saying they need to bring certain issues to the knowledge of the court.

A bench of justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and BV Nagarathna told Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan, appearing for the SFIO that, though it was scheduled to sit on Thursday, but due to some problem, the special bench will sit on next Wednesday.

“You can file your report in a sealed cover but the matter will be taken up next Wednesday,” the bench said.

Read also: Centre to takeover management control of Unitech

At the outset, Divan, while mentioning the matter, said, “The SFIO has prepared its report on its investigation into Unitech Ltd. They have found some properties of the group and need some clarification. Some of the properties which they have found are overlapping with the properties found by the Enforcement Directorate (ED)”.

Divan said, “We need clarification whether the SFIO report should be filed in a sealed cover or in a normal course. We also need to bring certain issues to the knowledge of the court”.

While giving its nod to file the report in a sealed cover, the bench listed the matter for further hearing on October 6.

Shifting from Tihar Jail

On August 26, the top court directed that former Unitech promoters Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra be shifted from Tihar Jail to Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail and Taloja prison in Maharashtra after the ED had said that they were conducting business from the premises in connivance with the staff.

The top court, which had perused two status reports of the ED, said Tihar Jail Superintendent and other staff are “absolutely shameless” for conniving with the Chandra brothers to flout the court orders and undermine its jurisdiction. Pursuant to the direction of the top court, the Chandra brothers were shifted to jails in Mumbai.

The two ED reports have raised some “serious and disturbing” issues for consideration and will be dealt with accordingly, the top court had said.

It had directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to personally hold inquiry forthwith about the conduct of the Tihar Jail staff concerning the Chandras and submit the report to the court within four weeks.

Secret underground office

The ED had made a startling revelation that it had unearthed a “secret underground office” here which was operated by erstwhile Unitech founder Ramesh Chandra and visited by his sons Sanjay and Ajay when on parole or bail.

The ED, which has been investigating money laundering charges against the Chandras and Unitech Ltd, said in its report that both Sanjay and Ajay had rendered the entire judicial custody meaningless as they have been freely communicating, instructing their officials and disposing of properties from inside the jail in connivance with the prison staff there.

Besides ED and SFIO, the Economic Offence Wing of Delhi Police is also investigating the affairs of the Unitech Group and business transactions of erstwhile promoters of the real estate company.

Both Sanjay and Ajay who have been in jail since August 2017, are accused of allegedly siphoning home buyers' money. In its October 2017 order, the top court had asked them to deposit ₹750 crore with the apex court registry by December 31, 2017.

The Chandra brothers have claimed that they complied with the court’s conditions, and they have deposited an amount over ₹750 crore and, therefore, they are granted bail.

The matter pertains to a criminal case which started initially by one complaint lodged in 2015 and later joined by 173 other home buyers of Unitech projects' -- 'Wild Flower Country' and 'Anthea Project' -- situated in Gurugram.

On January 20 last year, in a respite to over 15,000 hassled home buyers of Unitech, the top court had allowed the Centre to take total management control of the realty firm and appoint a new board of nominee directors.

Published on September 29, 2021

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