Supreme Court nod for auction of unencumbered Unitech properties to raise money
A bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra asked the panel headed by retired Delhi high court judge Justice SN Dhingra to go ahead after it was told that Unitech’s Agra property had not received any bids on Monday.Updated: Aug 22, 2018 01:21 IST
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the panel headed by retired Delhi high court judge, Justice SN Dhingra, could proceed to auction unencumbered properties of Unitech’s directors.
A bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra asked the panel to go ahead after it was told that Unitech’s Agra property had not received any bids on Monday.
Advocate Pawan Shree Agarwal, who is assisting the court in the case, told the court the Justice Dhingra panel had extended the date of auction by four days.
According to Agarwal, the parcel of land — which Unitech disclosed as an unencumbered property for auction — was not well located, which could be why nobody came forward to purchase it. However, the company had better located land in the same area, details of which were not known to the panel. “We are not aware whether they are unencumbered or not,” he said.
A similar situation exists in Varanasi, said Agarwal, raising apprehensions that selling land in the city might be difficult. The notice for auction of the Varanasi land will be published on Wednesday, he said.
The Justice Dhingra panel had identified parcels of lands in Agra, Varanasi and Sriperumbudur for auction to raise funds for reimbursing home buyers who have not got possession of their flats. The sale of these properties were to generate Rs 600 crore on the court’s direction.
“Nobody is coming forward to buy the property,” the Chief Justice of India told Unitech’s lawyer, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar. “Why don’t you get a buyer? You are not interested in giving the money,” he added.
Kumar, however, moved an application seeking the court’s permission to sell Unitech property in Kolkata. He said the Kolkata plot would fetch Rs 116 crore and the entire money could be deposited with the court registry. A US-based real estate agency had shown interest in buying the land. Kumar said Unitech had leased out fifty per cent of the property to the same company.
On the request of the proposed buyer, the court asked the Justice Dhingra panel to auction the Kolkata plot within three weeks. Before that, the court said, the company must deposit Rs 1 crore with the court registry. The company counsel said as per its policy the proposed buyer could purchase land only after participating in the auction.
In a related development, Noida authority told the court it had turned down the offer of a real estate firm to take over Unitech’s golf course project.
The SC also assured Unitech that it would look into its request for releasing Rs 9 crore from the funds generated so far to complete construction of 199 flats in three projects — Horizon, Verve and Unihomes. Agarwal told HT that the panel had perused Unitech’s proposal to finish one tower in each project.
So far, Agarwal said, Unitech has deposited Rs 120 crore, including Rs 40 crore that was given by one of its JV partners. On the court’s direction, Rs 38 crore has been disbursed to 237 homebuyers. The court registry is in the process of distributing another Rs 40 crore. On Tuesday, the court ordered disbursement of Rs 25 crore more, following which, he said, the registry would be left with Rs 21 crore.
First Published: Aug 22, 2018 01:21 IST