The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the sale or auctioning of unencumbered properties of real estate major Unitech to raise money to refund home buyers, reported PTI. An unencumbered asset is one that is free of any claims by creditors.

The top court ordered a committee headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice SN Dhingra to oversee the proceedings of the company’s properties in Kolkata. The bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, asked the committee to give Rs 25 crore to home buyers on a pro rata basis. The court permitted lawyer Pawanshree Agarwal, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae, to appoint two more aides.

The court slotted the next hearing for September 11.

The case

On March 5, the Supreme Court had asked Unitech to file an affidavit with details of its assets in India and abroad. The realtor submitted a list of its properties, but said that it was incomplete.

Unitech is facing multiple cases filed by flat buyers who allege that Managing Director Sanjay Chandra had duped them. The Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police had arrested Chandra and his brother Ajay in 2017 for allegedly cheating home buyers and siphoning off clients’ money to foreign accounts.

The real estate firm did not complete several housing projects in Greater Noida and Gurugram on time, and the company’s management did not refund the money along with interest, leaving thousands of buyers in the lurch. As many as 4,688 buyers have claimed a refund of Rs 1,865 crore from Unitech.

In December 2017, the Centre had successfully moved the National Company Law Tribunal to have 10 interim directors appointed to Unitech’s board as its affairs were “not being carried out honestly”. However, the Supreme Court then stayed the order, and the Centre admitted to not have sought control over the management.