GURUGRAM: Taking cognisance of Unitech not refunding money to those who had invested in its fixed deposit scheme, National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), in an order issued on April 20, has directed banks to freeze four accounts of the real estate giant, three in Gurgaon and one in Chennai. The banks were directed to submit account statements with details of funds available in the accounts to the tribunal, and prohibited outward transactions.
The order was issued in response to the execution petition filed by Madhubala Arora against Unitech, for not refunding her FD even after maturity. Arora had filed her petition in February after Unitech failed to execute NCLT’s July 2016 order, asking it to refund the amount.
Of the three frozen Gurgaon accounts, two are in ICICI Bank in Sector 14, while one is in SBI, Mehrauli Road. The other account is in SBI, Laxmipati Road, Chennai.
“The company might be having many more accounts in different banks. We got to know of these four and submitted the details before the tribunal, following which directions were issued to freeze them,” said petitioner Madhubala Arora, adding they are hunting for details of other bank accounts maintained by the company.
TOI had carried a story on April 14 highlighting how Unitech had floated a FD scheme in 2012 and raised Rs 600 crore from 56,436 people, who fell for the 12% return promised. Most have lost their money, some their life’s savings by investing in the scheme. Yet, the scheme was in complete violation of all norms, because Unitech did not have permits to raise money this way. RBI permits only banks, NBFCs, housing finance companies and few others to offer FDs.
Unitech managing directors, brothers Sanjay and Ajay Chandra, were arrested by EOW Gurgaon in connection with the FD scheme, and are currently out on bail.
Advocate Satvik Varma, who is representing some of the depositors before NCLAT, said, “Bona-fide depositors, some of whom have invested their life’s earning into Unitech’s FD scheme, have faced many legal difficulties in their fight to get a refund. Unitech has tried everything to avoid having to refund.”
Earlier, in July 2016, the tribunal had refused to give any further time for refund, and observed that the appellant (Unitech) and its directors, instead of taking specific efforts to pay back depositor’s their dues, had deployed delaying tactics. Commenting on this, Varma said, “We’ve prayed to NCLT to attach parcels of land that Unitech had submitted before it as being unencumbered, to help recover depositors’ monies.”
In the past two years, thousands have filed complaints with the company law board (CLB) — which became the NCLT in June last year. CLB passed several orders in these two years in favour of depositors, directing the company to refund. But most of these orders were not executed. The company filed an application before the New Delhi branch of CLB in 2015 seeking extension of time for repayment.
Unitech could not be reached for comment.
Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/tribunal-to-banks-freeze-unitech-a/cs/articleshow/58333002.cms