NCLAT Hauls Unitech Ltd For Defaulting Payment To Deposit Holders.

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal has directed Unitech Limited, once India’s second largest real estate investment company to repay the amount(s) to its deposit holders pendent lite along with future interest @ 12.5% p.a. from the date of maturity of the respective FDRs. It has also imposed cost of Rs.50,000/- to each of the deposit holders, setting aside the order of NCLT, New Delhi.

Sunita Bansal had bought FDRs from Unitech Limited for a period of three years maturity in 2016. The Company defaulted and several deposit holders filed complaints.

The Managing Directors of the Company filed a Special Leave Petitions in 2017 where the Supreme Court directed the Amicus Curiae to file a chart of the various projects of the Company, the name of consumers and the amount deposited with the company. It further directed that no coercive steps should be taken against the company.

On May 14, 2018 the Supreme Court constituted Justice Dhingra Committee to supervise the working of payments and disbursal of the money deposited at the Registry of the Supreme Court by the company. However on Jan 20th, 2020 the Supreme Court of India in the case of Bhupinder Singh Vs Unitech Ltd Civil Appeal(s) No.10856 of 2016 reconstituted the Board of Unitech.

The Appellants aggrieved by the order passed by NCLT New Delhi Bench moved to NCLAT for enhancement of the rate of interest and to set aside the order which directed the company to pay Rs. 3,50,000/- pendent lite and future interest @ 10% from the date of filing till the receipt.

The NCLAT bench while allowing the appeal(s) stated that rules have been made to protect the interest of deposit holders and for the benefit of the economy of the country and not for rewarding the defaulting company by reducing the rate of interest and not paying the interest from maturity date to filing of petition. The directors have siphoned off the money of the investors/home buyers as observed by Supreme Court and that is why the directors of the respondent are behind bars. Setting aside the order of NCLT and enhancing the rate of interest, the bench stated that no punishment should be given to honest depositors who are running from pillar to post to get their amount back with interest.

“We should have no sympathy with the defaulting company and its directors. NCLT has reduced the rate of interest for which no justification has been given and also for not awarding interest from the maturity date to filing of the petition. We note that this is a reward to the defaulting company and punishment to honest depositor who is running from pillar to post to get his amount back with interest”, the bench observed.

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