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Underground Unitech office found, SC orders brothers’ transfer from Tihar to Mumbai jails

New Delhi, Aug 26, 2021- The Supreme Court on Thursday directed former Unitech Group promoters, Sanjay Chandra and his brother Ajay Chandra, should be shifted from Delhi’s Tihar Jail to Arthur Road Jail and Taloja Jail in Mumbai. The top court also slammed the Tihar jail authorities for allegedly colluding with the brothers to scuttle the ongoing probe against them and to “dissipate” their properties before the ED could seize them.

A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M R Shah passed the order following a report by the Enforcement Directorate claiming it has found a “secret underground office”, which was being operated by their father and Unitech founder Ramesh Chandra, and both his sons Sanjay and Ajay visited the office, when on parole or bail. The agency has alleged that it was done in collusion with the Tihar Jail authorities. The top court observed that attempts were made by the brothers to undermine its jurisdiction.

The bench was angered after learning that Chandras were sending instructions from inside the jail and also allegedly threatened the witnesses.

Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan, representing the ED, submitted before the bench that during search and seizure operations, the agency unearthed a secret underground office, which is being used by Ramesh Chandra. She added that agency recovered hundreds of original sale deeds from that office. It also found hundreds of digital signatures and several computers which contain sensitive data in connection with their properties in India and abroad. Divan contended that immediate steps needed to be taken the brothers from interfering in the probe.

The agency also informed the top court that the brothers also deputed officials to communicate their instructions outside the jail. “They (Chandras) have been operating from inside the jail premises. They have rendered the entire judicial custody otiose,” she added.

Divan told the bench the probe revealed the promoters created many shell companies with dummy directors to carry out illegal multilayer transactions. They also diverted the money to overseas destinations.

The bench said the allegations against Chandras were “shocking and very serious”. It further added that the report could not be disclosed as the probe is in progress.

The top court also directed Delhi Police Commissioner to hold inquiry on allegation that Chandra brothers were allowed to be involved in illegal activities from Tihar Jail to scuttle the probe against them. Both Sanjay and Ajay Chandra are accused of allegedly siphoning home buyers’ money. In October 2017, the top court had ordered them to deposit Rs 750 crore with its registry by December 31, 2017.

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