“Absolutely shameless”: SC orders to investigate “collusion” between promoters of Unitech and officials of Tihar
The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave the green light to a full-fledged criminal investigation into the allegations of collusion by some Tihar prison officials with former Unitech Ltd promoters Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra while in prison, and ordered the immediate suspension of officials named in an investigation report submitted by the Delhi Police Commissioner.
“We have read the investigation report dated September 28 submitted by Shri Rakesh Asthana, Delhi Police Commissioner. According to paragraph 37 of the report, we grant authorization to open a full-fledged criminal investigation against the named person as well as against unknown persons who are not mentioned. The police commissioner declared that a criminal case would be registered under article 7, 8, of the PCA… We order that the agents of the Tihar prison who were at first sight recognized as accomplices be suspended for the time being. ‘that the proceedings are pending,’ a bench of judges DY Chandrachud and MR Shah ordered after hearing the report of the chief of police.
The bench also rejected a request by the Chandras to provide them with a copy of the forensic audit report of the beleaguered real estate group carried out by Grant Thornton, claiming that it is currently the subject of an investigation by the management of the execution (ED) and it will not be appropriate to share it with the accused at this point.
The court noted that the reports of an investigation carried out by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) dated July 2021 as well as the third situation report from the Directorate of Enforcement had also been submitted, and ordered that the updated status report from both agencies be produced no later than the next hearing date.
He also asked the police commissioner to forward a copy of his report to the Home Office and ordered the ministry to respond to some of the suggestions it contained. The court ordered that an action plan be developed to implement the suggestions made within four weeks.
On October 26, the SC ordered the police commissioner to investigate the charges in an ED report which stated that the Chandra brothers, who were being held in Tihar prison, were running around freely and flouting the prison’s manual. prison in collusion with the authorities. The court also ordered that they be transferred to Arthur Road Jail and Taloja Central Jail prisons in Mumbai and housed separately.
The ED had accused the brothers, who had been arrested following complaints of embezzlement of money from home buyers, of “engaging in illegal activities by flouting the prison manual … by carrying out transfers of assets and dissipating the proceeds of crime … by influencing witnesses and attempting to derail the investigation. ” against them.
The court raped the prison authorities by saying that they “acted in complete connivance with them… We have lost confidence in the authorities at Tihar prison. They sit in the capital and apply the orders of the Supreme Court and it is all happening under their noses. Absolutely shameless of the director of Tihar prison, that’s all we want to say ”.
Asthana, after investigating the case, submitted a report to the court requesting leave to open a criminal investigation against “the named person as well as the unmentioned unknown persons”.
Senior attorney Vikas Singh, appearing for the Chandras, said on Wednesday what was happening was an ex parte hearing and the defendants had not been given a chance to refute the allegations made against them. “How long will this ex parte hearing last?” I am the second largest real estate developer who has built approximately 5 crore square feet and over 1 lakh units.
Judge Chandrachud replied that this was not an ex parte hearing and that the accused was not entitled to see the diary of the case.
The hearing witnessed some heated exchanges, with Singh urging the court to give him a copy of the Grant Thornton report and the court opposing his arguments.
“I don’t want your Lordships to repent later that you did not act in time. I’m sure the court has nothing personal against the Chandras, ”Singh submitted.
He added that the accused should have received the Grant Thornton report. “I should have been able to show that there is no embezzlement,” he said.
Lead counsel questioned whether it would be possible to go back if it is found during the trial that there is no embezzlement.
Singh pointed out that in the case of the beleaguered Amrapali developer group, homebuyers had to pay installments and inquired about why the court could not order the same in the case of Unitech developers.
“How many companies will this tribunal run… Amrapali you run, Unitech you run, Supertech you run … You arrested my father, my wife, also arrest my children.” Put us all behind bars, ”Singh pleaded on behalf of the Chandras, urging the court to at least let him argue his defense against what the forensic auditor had said.
As the decibels rose, the bench opposed the arguments. “Before making allegations about this court, what is that language? What is this repentance later? … Listen to me, listen to me, is this the way to address the court? asked Judge Chandrachud, removing his mask.
Judge Shah warned the lawyer not to raise his voice and make allegations against the court… “We can see that the client did not inform you properly,” Judge Chandrachud told Singh, who replied: “I took a lot of briefings.”
Judge Shah said, “There are reasons and reasons for stopping them both… we cannot disclose them to you at this point. Judge Shah also noted that “we never expected this from Mr. Vikas Singh, with all seriousness.”
Singh told the bench that his clients couldn’t even hold a video conference with him.
The bench, however, refused to share the forensic report. He will now hear the case after the Diwali holiday.