NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today said that jailed Unitech Ltd Managing Director Sanjay Chandra will be granted bail only after the real estate group deposits Rs 750 crore with its registry by December end.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said Chandra's counsel can mention the matter related to bail before it once the money is deposited.
The top court directed the jail authorities to facilitate Chandra's meeting with his company officials and lawyers so that he could arrange money for refunding the home buyers as well as for completing the ongoing housing projects.
"Having heard counsel for the parties at length, it is directed that the petitioners shall be admitted to bail subject to the condition that they shall deposit a sum of Rs 750 crore in the registry of this court which shall be kept in an interest earning fixed deposit.
"The deposit shall be made by the end of December 2017," the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.
As far as the visits to the jail are concerned, "the jail authorities shall facilitate the meetings of the petitioners with their officers/officials/employees at such intervals as may be intimated by the petitioners," it said.
The bench said the visit to jail shall be made within the normal visiting hours as per the jail rules and Chandra's counsel can also go there to meet him.
"The jail authorities shall also arrange a place where the petitioners will be in a position to negotiate," it said, while asking them to "make the video conferencing facility available to the petitioners within the visiting hours so that they shall be in a position to negotiate".
The bench, however, made it clear that Chandra was only entitled to negotiate in respect of unencumbered properties or assets of the group.
The apex court said if any proceedings were pending against Chandra and the company, that may continue and the final order may be passed but no coercive steps would be taken for executing those orders.
"We have passed such an order as the entire scenario has been projected before us and we are sure that the petitioners shall comply with the directions issued by this court from time to time," the bench noted in its order and posted the matter for hearing in the second week of January.
Advocate Pawan Shree Aggarwal, assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the matter, told the bench that presently the amount that was computed for refund to the home buyers may go above Rs 2,000 crore while some of the buyers want possession of flats.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Chandra, told the court that if they were given liberty, they would monetise their assets and would be able to complete the ongoing housing projects so that the buyers, who intend to have possession of flats, can be satisfied.
He also told the court that they have given a plan for refund of money and completion of projects and they needed some time to do it.
Kumar argued that the group was committed to refund money and give possession of flats to the buyers and sought interim bail or custody parole for Chandra to enable him to do his work.
Meanwhile, the counsel appearing for the real estate firm said if construction of ongoing projects is completed, then the problem to refund and possession of flats will be sorted out.
The amicus curaie told the court that around 9,390 home buyers, out of a total of around 16,000, have responded to him on the issue of either seeking refund from the builder or getting possession of flats.
He said around 4,700 buyers wanted refund of their money.
"The home buyers who have already expressed their option in the portal made by the amicus curiae shall not put in anything by which their option will be changed," the bench said in its order.
The apex court had on October 23 asked Chandra to establish his bonafide by depositing at least Rs 1,000 crore out of a total of Rs 1,865 crore to refund hassled homebuyers who do not want possession of flats.
Chandra is seeking interim bail from the apex court after the Delhi High Court on August 11 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 in Gurugram.