SC seeks EDs status on recovering Unitech home buyers money from Cyprus - Business Standard

Supreme Court | Enforcement Directorate | Unitech case
Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi  Last Updated at April 20, 2022 23:53 IST

The on Wednesday asked the to file a status report on steps taken to bring back Unitech Ltd home buyers' money amounting to Rs 5000 crores which has been siphoned off and stashed in a tax haven like .
The top court also appointed former Judge AM Sapre to look into the policy and finalization of standard operating procedure for monetization of project land assets and non-project land assets of Unitech.document.write(““);googletag.cmd.push(function(){googletag.defineOutOfPageSlot(‘/6516239/outofpage_1x1_desktop’,’div-gpt-ad-1490771277198-0′).addService(googletag.pubads());googletag.pubads().enableSyncRendering();googletag.enableServices();});


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A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah told Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan, appearing for (ED), to file a status report about steps that could be taken to liquidate the attached properties, so that the funds could be utilised in the construction of stalled projects.
Divan submitted that since the new board of management of Unitech has highlighted a fund crunch, the assets which have been provisionally attached as proceeds of crime have a book value of Rs 380 crores and market value of Rs 1000 Crore and on the direction of the court it could be liquidated and funds could be used for construction of the stalled project.
The bench said that it cannot interfere or take over the powers of the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court and all it can do is expedite the hearing in these matters.
You have to follow the due process of law. These properties cannot be appropriated like this. We cannot pre-judge that these are proceeds of crime. You have to move the PMLA court. The attachment has been done as per the due process of law and it has to be dealt with further as per the procedure, the bench said.
The bench said that there are certain things that the can do while exercising jurisdiction under Article 142 and there are certain things that it cannot do.
You (ED) file a status report indicating the steps which have been taken to bring back the money which has been stashed abroad in tax havens like and also the steps which could be taken to ensure liquidation of attached properties as per the due process of law, the bench said.
Dealing with the monetization of project land assets and non-project land assets, the bench said that it would be appropriate if a former judge of this court oversee the policy and formulate a standard operating procedure.
We accordingly appoint former (apex court) Judge AM Sapre to assist the board of management under the auspices of this court in the finalisation of the policy and standard operating procedure. The proposed SOP which is formulated shall be placed before Justice (retd) AM Sapre for his scrutiny and modifications if any in his regard be considered, the bench said.
The top court said that appointment of a former judge would ensure transparency and realise the best possible price of the assets which would fund the construction of Units for home buyers.
On March 25, the top court had conditionally allowed former Unitech promoter Sanjay Chandra's wife Preeti, lodged in Tihar Jail in a money laundering case, five hours out of the prison on March 26 or April 5 to attend her maternal grandmother's funeral.
On March 23, the top court had asked the ED to file its response on a plea filed by Preeti seeking interim bail to take part in the last rites.
The ED had expressed apprehension that she may leave the country if granted bail and said "it is better to be safe than be sorry."

The ED had recently filed a fresh charge sheet before a court here in connection with its money laundering probe against realty group Unitech, its ex-promoter brothers Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra, and others.
The ED had made a startling claim in November last year that it had unearthed a secret underground office here which was being operated by erstwhile Unitech founder Ramesh Chandra and visited by his sons Sanjay and Ajay when on parole or bail.
Both Sanjay and Ajay, in jail since August 2017, are accused of allegedly siphoning off home buyers' money.
On November 10 last year, the top court had said that it is a sorry state of affairs in Tihar Jail which has become a den of criminals, and murders are happening there.
It had directed the Home Ministry to take immediate steps on prison reforms and enhance management.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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