The Supreme Court on Wednesday barred 13 promoters and directors of Jaiprakash Associates from selling their properties and asked the real estate developer to deposit Rs 275 crore, in two instalments, by December 31, saying "acche bacche ki tarah paise de do (be a good kid and pay up)".
"Neither the independent directors nor the promoter directors shall alienate their personal properties or assets in any manner, and if they do so, they will not only be liable for criminal prosecution but contempt of the court", the court said in its order on Wednesday.
When counsel submitted that Rs 275 crore was being deposited in the Registry, the Bench allowed Jaiprakash Associates to furnish the due amount of Rs 2,000 crore in installments. Kapil Sibal, appearing for the company, said adequate time should be given to arrange the money demanded; else, the firm could go the way of the Sahara group. Flat buyers, said that under the IBC 2016, they do not fall under the category of secured creditors like banks and hence they may get back their money only if something is left after repaying secured creditors.
The court order is seen as a relief to Jaypee Associates whose earlier plea to deposit Rs 400 crore was turned down as court had asked it to be ready with sizeable amount of Rs 2,000 crore that it has been directed to deposit to safeguard flat buyers' interests. Further, the Bench, which had summoned the company's five promoters and directors before it, restrained them from alienating their properties or that of their immediate family without the court's permission. The court asked Pawan Shree Agrawal, amicus curiae to set up a website that would help maintain a detailed account of the money owed to homebuyers and aid the refund process. "Homebuyers should get their money back", the court said.
Meanwhile the court has fixed plea of home buyers for further hearing on January 10 and asked the 13 directors of JAL to appear before it again on that day.
"The idea is to pay the money".
Attorney General K K Venugopal alleged that the company had diverted funds and a forensic audit was required to probe its affairs.
Jaiprakash Associates has denied allegations made by home buyers of the company diverting over Rs 10,000 crore from its subsidiary Jaypee Infratech, terming it as false, baseless and frivolous. However, IDBI Bank had opposed the plea on the ground that the Yamuna Expressway did not belong to the Jaypee Group and the concession agreement with the government was not transferable.
IDBI have initiated Bankruptcy proceedings against Jaypee Infratech for default in the payment of installements.
"Buyers must be paid back their money".
On September 4, the court had stayed insolvency proceedings instituted against Jaypee Infratech by the Allahabad Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).