In some relief to embattled real estate developer Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL) in the ongoing homebuyers refund case, the Supreme Court on Friday extended the deadline for the company to deposit Rs 125 crore installment from December 31, 2017 to Jan 25, 2018.
The development comes a day after JAL deposited Rs 150 crore in the Supreme Court registry in pursuance of a direction aimed at protecting the interests of hassled home buyers.
The firm had moved an application before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra seeking extension of time to deposit the remaining Rs 125 crore within a month.
The deadline for depositing the amount would expire on December 31. A bench comprising Chief Justice Misra, and justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, granted extension to the embattled firm to submit the third instalment of Rs 125 crore by January 25.
On November 22, the court had accepted a demand draft of Rs 275 crore submitted by the real estate firm and directed it to pay another two tranches of Rs 150 crore and Rs 125 crore respectively by December 14 and 31.
The court had also directed 13 directors of JAL not to alienate their personal properties. The top court had also made it clear that it was granting “indulgence” to allow the firm to deposit Rs 2,000 crore in instalments as the interest of homebuyers was “paramount”.
It had restrained 13 directors—five promoters and eight independent directors, from alienating their personal properties as well as that of their immediate family members.
The apex court’s direction that the directors shall not alienate their or their family members’ personal properties in any manner implies freezing of their assets. It had also warned the directors that any violation of its directive would hold them liable for criminal prosecution and contempt action.
The JAL directors had filed affidavits giving details of their personal assets and they are now required to appear again on 10 January. The apex court, on 13 November, had also restrained the managing director and the directors of Jaypee Infratech Ltd from travelling abroad without prior permission.
The court had asked Jaypee Infratech to hand over the records to the interim resolution professional (IRP) to draft a resolution plan indicating protection of interests of over 32,000 hassled home buyers and creditors. It had also stayed any proceedings instituted against Jaypee Infratech for any purpose in any forum like the consumer commission, as the IRP has been given control of the company’s management.
Homebuyers including one Chitra Sharma, through lawyer Ashwarya Sinha, had moved the apex court saying around 32,000 people had booked their flats and are now paying instalments. The top court had on 4 September stayed insolvency proceedings against the real estate firm at National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
Flat buyers, under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code of 2016, do not fall in the category of secured creditors like banks and hence they can get back their money only if something is left after repaying the secured and operational creditors, Sharma, in her plea, said.
Hundreds of home buyers have been left in the lurch after the NCLT, on 10 August, admitted the IDBI Bank’s plea to initiate insolvency proceedings against the debt-ridden realty company for defaulting on a Rs526 crore loan, the plea said.