The Supreme Court on Friday declined to grant bail to Unitech promoters Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra.
A division bench of justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said that the two brothers have not complied with the October 2017 order of the Supreme Court as per which Rs 750 crore was to be deposited with the registry of the court by December 31, 2017, to be eligible for bail.
The two brothers had claimed in their fresh bail application that they had deposited more than Rs 770 crore. The court, however, noted that the deposit was made after the deadline.
Further, a part of the amount deposited by the two came from monetisation of assets of Unitech and from tax refunds.
The court, therefore, refused to release them on bail while also making it clear that any modification of October 2017 order can be made only by a three-judge bench since the 2017 order was passed by a bench of three judges.
Sanjay Chandra was granted interim bail on July 7 for one month taking into account the fact that both his parents were infected with the coronavirus disease. With the period of interim bail having expired, the apex court asked Chandra to surrender before the authorities by Monday.
He was arrested by the Economic Offices Wing of the Delhi police in March 2017. Investigating authorities have maintained that prima facie probe indicated that money which has been realised from the flat buyers has been siphoned off.
A forensic audit report submitted before the Supreme Court by Grant and Thornton in December 2019 revealed that an amount of Rs 14,270 crore was collected by Unitech from 29,800 homebuyers. Out of that amount, Rs 13,364 crores was traced to the bank statements. Almost 90 per cent of the money was received between 2006 to 2014, the report said.
The report also said that the money trail analysis revealed that out of the collections from the homebuyers amounting to Rs 13,364.55 crore, approximately Rs 5,063.05 crore, or 40 per cent, was potentially not utilised by the Unitech group towards the construction/execution of the 74 identified projects.
The court had in January this year accepted the central government’s proposal to replace the board of directors of Unitech with nominee directors. It ordered supersession of the board of directors of Unitech in order to facilitate the takeover of management by the directors constituted in terms of the proposal submitted by the Union government. The new board is headed by retired IAS officer Yudhvir Singh Malik.
In October 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered that Chandras will be entitled to bail upon deposit of Rs 750 crore with the court registry.
However, since the condition was not complied with, they continued to remain in jail. The top court had in, January 2019, rejected their bail plea for the same reason.
“At this stage, the admitted facts before the court indicate that the order for the deposit of Rs 750 crore has not been complied with. The prayer for enlargement on bail is misconceived because the petitioners have been admitted to bail, subject to the condition of deposit which is not fulfilled,” the court had said in its 2019 order.