Supreme Court finds Tribunal's order in Unitech case 'disturbing'

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The development comes days after the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) directed the Centre to take over the debt-ridden Unitech, replacing the top management of the realtor firm with a Board of ten nominated directors.

Shares of Unitech surged as much as 20 per cent in morning trade today after the NCLT authorised the government to appoint its 10 nominees on the board of the realty firm.

While considering the Centre's plea, the principal bench of NCLT had said that there is a prima facie case of mismanagement and restrained company directors from selling, transferring and mortgaging assets.

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Attorney general K K Venugopal appearing on behalf of the government conceded that the Centre should not have approached NCLT when apex court was seized if the matter relating to Unitech's failure to refund home buyers, informed a Unitech lawyer.

On October 30, the top court had said Sanjay Chandra, now in jail, would be granted bail only after the real estate group deposited money with its registry by December-end.

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Unitech and its jailed promoters, referred to the recent NCLT order of company takeover, saying with the tribunal asking the government to take over the company, it's very hard for them to deposit Rs 750 crore as directed by the SC.

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Last week, the government received a nod from the bankruptcy court to appoint a new management for the realty giant Unitech.

"How do you propose to take care of the home buyers?" The Unitech scrip had jumped 20 per cent on December 8, the day the order was issued, as well.

The MCA petition, parts of which were seen by Mint, cites the fate of 19,000 homebuyers, 15,000 small depositors and 700,000 shareholders as constituting public interest. The company argues that it could not deposit Rs 750 crore, as asked by the apex court, as the company's bank accounts remain frozen and its promoters jailed, Economic Times reported. Chandra's bail was rejected by the Delhi high court on August 11 in a criminal case lodged against him in 2015 on a complaint by buyers of the company's housing projects - "Wild Flower Country" and "Anthea Project"- Gurugram.

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