The Delhi High Court has refused to extend the interim bail of one month granted to Unitech Ltd promoter Ajay Chandra due to the illness of his wife who was suffering from COVID-19.
The high court noted that the Supreme Court is seized of the matter and there was no ground to extend the interim bail.
“Considering the orders passed by the metropolitan magistrate where the petitioner (Ajay Chandra) has been granted interim bail on ground of his wife being suffering from COVID-19; was on interim bail since last one month and hence there is no ground to extend the interim bail on submissions made, considering the fact that the Supreme Court is seized of the matter,” Justice Yogesh Khanna said on Thursday.
A trial court had on October 24, granted interim bail to Ajay Chandra for four weeks on grounds of illness of his wife who was stated to be suffering from COVID-19. Later the relief was extended till November 26.
Ajay Chandra, who was in jail since August 2017, approached the high court seeking further extension of interim bail on the ground that his wife’s post healing comorbidity condition has worsened and since his parents also suffered from coronavirus, there was no one else to take care of his spouse.
He sought parity with other inmates in terms of the top court’s October 29 order by which it had stayed the Delhi High Court’s decision asking under trial prisoners, who were released in view of COVID-19 pandemic, to surrender in phased manner.
His counsel submitted that now the matter is listed before the top court on December 2 and the relief has been extended to other undertrials till then.
Prosecutor M S Oberoi, representing the State, apprised the high court about an order of the full bench which said that the interim bail and stays were extended till further orders “except where there are any orders to the contrary passed by the Supreme Court in any particular matter during the intervening period”.
He also referred to the top court’s August 18 order on the issue of interim bail to be granted to Ajay Chandra and the top court had declined to extend the interim bail.
The top court had on August 14 dismissed the bail plea of Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra, who were granted interim bail in July for 30 days on “humanitarian grounds” as both their parents had tested positive for COVID-19.
They both are accused of allegedly siphoning off home buyers’ money.
The top court in its October 2017 order had asked them to deposit Rs 750 crore with the Supreme Court registry by December 31, 2017.
On January 20 this year, in a respite to over 12,000 hassled home buyers of Unitech, the Supreme Court had allowed the Central government to take total management control of the realty firm and appoint a new board of nominee directors.
In 2018, the top court had directed a forensic audit of Unitech Ltd and its sister concerns and subsidiaries by Samir Paranjpe, Partner, Forensic and Investigation Services in M/s Grant Thornton India.
The forensic auditors had submitted their report which said that Unitech Ltd received around Rs 14,270 crore from 29,800 homebuyers mostly between 2006-2014 and around Rs 1,805 crore from six financial institutions for the construction of 74 projects.
The audit revealed that around Rs 5,063 crore of home buyers’ money and around Rs 763 crore of funds received from financial institutions were not utilised by the company and high value investments were made off-shore tax-haven countries between 2007-2010.