In a stern message to realty firm Jaiprakash Associate Limited (JAL), the Supreme Court today directed its 13 directors not to alienate their personal properties and asked the company to pay up Rs 275 crore by December end "like a good kid".
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra accepted a demand draft of Rs 275 crore submitted by the real estate firm today and directed it to pay another two tranches of Rs 150 crore and Rs 125 crore respectively by December 14 and 31.
The bench restrained 13 directors, including five promoters and eight independent directors, from alienating their personal properties as well as of their immediate family members.
The top court 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".
"Deposit the money like a good kid on the next date of hearing," the bench said.
The apex court's direction that the directors shall not alienate their personal properties or their family members' personal properties in any manner implies freezing of their assets.
This court has nothing against you. Homebuyers needed to get back their money. These people (directors) have gone to the top at the expense of homebuyers’ money. You mortgage, sell your assets, jewellery and pay back. Otherwise we will attach your properties.
It also warned the directors that any violation of its directive would hold them liable for criminal prosecution and contempt action.
"Buyers must be paid back their money. Do not destroy the life savings of middle-class home buyers," it said.
The JAL directors, who were asked to appear in person, appeared today and filed affidavits giving details of their personal assets. The court has now asked them to appear again on 10 January, the next date of hearing.
The bench, meanwhile, appointed lawyer Pawan Shree Agrawal as an amicus curiae and asked him to set up within a week, a web portal which would contain all details including grievances of the hassled homebuyers.
Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Ranjit Kumar, who appeared on behalf of the directors, sought some more time for depositing money in the court.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the real estate company, said the company would deposit Rs 275 crore today and sought time till June 2018 for depositing more money.
Kapil Sibal, Lawyer for Jaypee LimitedThe idea is to pay the money. The fact that JAL will go into liquidation will not help anybody. The company wants to pay and deliver possession. It has 50,000 employees.
Attorney General K K Venugopal alleged that the company had diverted funds and a forensic audit was required to probe its affairs.
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.
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