NBCC may take over stuck projects of Unitech Group as a project management consultant: sources

The Centre is likely to propose National Buildings Construction Corporation’s (NBCC) name for completing the stalled projects of real estate major Unitech Ltd when the case comes up for hearing in the Supreme Court on July 29, sources told Moneycontrol.

The government run-NBCC has already been tasked by the court to complete all pending projects of Amrapali group, bringing relief to 40,000 homebuyers.

“NBCC may take over stuck projects of the Unitech Group as a project management consultant (PMC), similar to its role in the Amrapali case, for which it is charging a commission on the overall cost of the project,” sources said.

The Supreme Court had on July 5 asked the Centre to come up with a proposal so that more than 16,000 homebuyers of Unitech were not left in the lurch. It asked the Centre to suggest the modalities and name of a third-party agency such as NBCC to ensure that the projects were completed in a time-bound manner.

Sources said the work would begin only after the construction cost and the PMC fees were received. The money would be put in an escrow account. A committee would oversee the construction, expected to be completed within three years of receipt of the contract. “Projects nearing completion may be taken up first,” sources said.

The country’s top law officer attorney general KK Venugopal had told a bench of justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah that a third party could be involved in the construction and a committee headed by a retired high court judge could oversee the work.

Upset over Unitech’s lack of support for the forensic audit ordered by it, the top court had on May 9 withdrew all the facilities given to its promoters Sanjay Chandra and his brother Ajay Chandra, lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail since 2017 for allegedly siphoning off homebuyers’ money.

The court had in January 2019 refused bail to the Chandra brothers for not complying with its order to deposit Rs 750 crore with the SC registry by December 31, 2017. Seeking bail, the brothers said they had deposited around Rs 481 crore.

On December 7, 2018, the court had ordered a forensic audit of Unitech and its sister concerns and subsidiaries, a year after it stayed a National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) order allowing the Centre to take over the management of the realty firm.

NCLT suspended all the eight directors of the firm over allegations of mismanagement and siphoning of funds and had authorised the government to appoint 10 nominees to the Unitech board.

The government had requested NCLT to remove the directors, saying the company had run up a debt of more than Rs 6,000 crore and had failed to deliver 16,000 units from nearly 70 projects.