New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday denied bail to Sanjay Chandra of Unitech and held that he would have to prove his bona fides by depositing at least Rs1,000 crore, which could be used to refund home buyers.

A total of 4,688 home buyers are claiming a refund of Rs1,865 crore from Unitech in various projects undertaken by the real estate company.

Amicus curiae Pawan Shree Agrawal told the court the figures were based on entries submitted by home buyers on the website created to maintain accounts of Unitech’s different projects, home buyers and the extent of refunds granted to each of them. Not all buyers had submitted responses to the option they would prefer—refund or possession—as they might not be aware, Agrawal added.

Chandra’s counsel, former solicitor general Ranjit Kumar, appealed for bail, saying, “Unless he is allowed to come out of jail, the recovery becomes difficult. Being inside jail will not help the refund process. Allow him to come out for four weeks and the court may appoint a committee of lawyers to monitor the recovery process."

The court, however, did not heed his appeal and indicated that it may consider auctioning properties through a court-appointed receiver in the future.

Unitech owes a total of over Rs7,800 crore to 16,300 home buyers in 61 projects.

Aiding the refund process, Chief Justice Dipak Misra had directed in September that home buyers who had purchased flats in the 61 projects would have to specify whether they wished to seek possession of flats or a refund of their money.

Sanjay and Ajay Chandra along with others are embroiled in a case of alleged forgery lodged by buyers of its Gurugram-based housing project.

On 15 September, the court had denied interim bail to both Sanjay and brother Ajay Chandra, and asked for a detailed list of refunds paid by the firm to home buyers.

Additionally, the court had asked amicus curiae Agrawal to maintain accounts of Unitech’s various projects, home buyers and the extent of refund granted to each of them through a designated website.

Unitech has not submitted the complete details till date because of which Sanjay Chandra has been denied interim bail on numerous occasions.

He had moved the apex court against the 11 August order of the Delhi high court refusing to grant him interim bail.

On 1 April, the court had sent both the accused to police custody after the prosecution said their custodial interrogation was required to unravel the alleged money trail, beneficiaries of transactions and recovery of project-related documents and other evidence.

The matter will be heard next on 30 October.

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