Supreme Court grants 15-day interim bail to Unitech ex-promoter Sanjay Chandra

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Friday granted 15-day interim bail to Unitech Ltd’s former promoter Sanjay Chandra to attend the last rites of his father-in-law who expired this week.

A bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and M R Shah, hearing Chandra’s application for interim bail, said that the court is giving him relief for 15 days to attend the last rites.

The bench refused to accept the submission of senior advocate Siddharth Dave for some more time and said that Chandra should understand the circumstances under which the court had earlier cancelled the interim bail.

On August 14 last year, the top court had dismissed the bail plea of Chandra, who was a month earlier granted interim bail for 30 days on “humanitarian grounds” as both his parents had tested positive for COVID-19, and asked him to surrender within three days.

The apex court had also dismissed the bail application of Chandra’s brother Ajay Chandra, who is in jail since August 2017.

Both Sanjay and Ajay are accused of allegedly siphoning homebuyers’ money.

The top court in its October 2017 order had asked them to deposit Rs 750 crore with the apex court registry by December 31, 2017.

The Chandras have claimed that they complied with the court’s conditions and they have deposited an amount in excess of Rs 750 crore and therefore they are granted regular bail.

The top court had noted that since the October 2017 order, significant events have taken place and the apex court had directed a forensic audit to be conducted by Grant Thornton.

“It would suffice to note that it was as a result of the findings in the forensic report that this court issued directions for the taking over of the management of Unitech Limited by a Board which has since been constituted by the Union of India,” the top court had said.

It had said that court had earlier directed the Centre to ensure that all aspects, which were adverted to in the forensic report, should be investigated by the competent agencies, including with regard to the aspect of money laundering.

“Serious findings about siphoning of funds to offshore locations and in regard to the misdemeanour of the erstwhile management have been made in the report of the forensic auditors,” the court had recorded.

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 12,000 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.

The apex court had approved the name of retired Haryana cadre IAS officer Yudvir Singh Malik as chairman and managing director (CMD) of the new board and directed that the existing board of directors of the company would stand superseded.

In 2018, the top court had directed a forensic audit of Unitech Ltd and its sister concerns and subsidiaries by Samir Paranjpe, Partner, Forensic and Investigation Services in M/s Grant Thornton India.

The forensic auditors had submitted their report which said that Unitech Ltd received around Rs 14,270 crore from 29,800 homebuyers in between 2006-2014 and around Rs 1,805 crore from six financial institutions for the construction of 74 projects.