Repeatedly stating it would do everything to end the misery of nearly 32,000 families that had invested in Jaypee housing projects but were cheated, the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday directed the builders to deposit Rs 2,000 crore by October 27 with its registry. "You do whatever you want. We are not bothered about your company. You may drown in the sea or stay afloat. We are only concerned about the interest of the home buyers, who invested their hard-earned money..the middle class, the lower middle class. Sell your land if you do not have money," Chief Justice Dipak Misra told the lawyer for the infrastructure company.
Significantly, the bench asked the National Company Law Tribunal-appointed interim resolution professional (IRP) to take over the management of Jaypee and work out a plan to protect the interests of homebuyers and creditors. The insolvency resolution professional will have to come with a plan for more than 32,000 buyers, who have expressed concern that the insolvency proceedings against Jaypee would leave them in a lurch and remediless to either get a house or compensation from the company.
It also restrained the managing director and directors of Jaypee Infratech, a sister company of Jaypee associates, from travelling abroad, without its prior permission. The bench asked the IRP to submit a resolution plan within 45 days to the court that shall indicate the protection of interests of homebuyers and the creditors. The apex court, however, allowed Jaypee associates to raise Rs 2,000 crore by selling land or any properties with the prior approval of the IRP.
On September 4, in another relief to the homebuyers, SC had stayed the insolvency proceedings against Jaypee Infratech going on at the Allahabad National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) at the instance of financier IDBI. Homebuyers, being unsecured creditors, would have got nothing out of the insolvency proceedings as the dues of financial institutions, which are secured creditors, would be cleared first.
It also asked the attorney general to assist it in deciding a batch of petitions opposing the insolvency proceedings and seeking protection of the home buyers' interests. It was alleged by senior advocate Ajit Sinha, appearing for petitioner Chitra Sharma, that around Rs 25,000 crore worth of money of flat buyers and others has been at stake and the insolvency proceedings were initiated "for a petty sum of Rs 500 crore".
Around 32,000 persons had booked flats in the projects of Jaypee Infratech. Hundreds of home buyers have been left in the lurch after the NCLT on August 10, admitted the IDBI Bank's plea to initiate insolvency proceedings against the debt-ridden realty company for defaulting on a Rs 526-crore loan, the plea said.
Jaypee Infratech is into road construction and real estate business. It has constructed the Yamuna Expressway, connecting Delhi-Agra. The bench had earlier sought the replies of RBI and others on a PIL filed by Chitra Sharma and other homebuyers alleged that they have not received the flats and the insolvency proceedings initiated against the company will render them without any remedy.
The plea was moved in the apex court seeking protection of the interests of over 32,000 buyers who invested their money to book their dream homes in 27 different projects of Jaypee Infratech.