NOIDA: Home buyers in Supertech’s Emerald Court towers suffered a double jolt on Tuesday as the company unceremoniously called off a press conference and virtually stonewalled buyers’ demands for a refund even as the Noida Authority sealed the project site, bringing construction to a halt.
The press conference was expected to shed light on the company’s strategy in the wake of the Allahabad high court’s order last Friday to demolish two 40-storeyed residential towers at Emerald Court in Sector 93A for flouting building laws. The two towers, Apex and Ceyane, together have 857 flats.
The developer, Supertech, merely issued a note telling buyers that their investments were “completely safe and secure” as the two towers were “being constructed in total compliance of all rules and bylaws of the competent authorities”. The note was silent on refunds.
In its ruling, the high court had pulled up Noida Authority for allowing construction of the two towers and ordered prosecution of officials who had a role in it. It also asked Supertech to refund money to the buyers “with 14% interest compounded annually”.
The two towers are at an advanced stage of construction. More than 21 floors have been built in Apex and 17 in Ceyane. The towers were to have 14 flats on each floor besides a penthouse each.
A team of Noida Authority officials, accompanied by security personnel, reached the project site along the Noida-Greater Noida expressway around 3pm and sealed the four entrances and exits. “Following the high court order, we have sealed Emerald Court Phase-II so that no further activity takes place on the premises,” said Manoj Rai, the authority’s officer on special duty.
Asked if the authority would now demolish the two towers in accordance with the court order, officials said they were yet to receive a certified copy of the ruling. “We will decide our course of action only after legally examining it, but we will definitely file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court to challenge the order directing prosecution of authority officials,” Rai said.
For the buyers, these weren’t good tidings. “On one hand, we need to pay EMIs while on the other, we don’t have any hope of access to the new home. We were hoping to move to the new flat in 2012 when they were supposed to be handed over,” said Nitin Shingla, who has bought a flat in Apex.
The project’s financiers are IDBI Bank, ICICI Bank, Corporation Bank and HDFC bank. “All we had to do was fill up some forms and submit documents. Supertech roped in the financiers,” said Sudeep Manchanda, another buyer of an Apex home.
The banks, too, are worried. “We have written to them. All four banks have put in Rs 30-35 crore in the project. We are waiting for Supertech’s response,” said an IDBI manager involved in the Emerald Court project.
For almost all the apartments, the banks have disbursed 90-95% funds. “There doesn’t seem to be any answer coming from the builders about a possible refund. Worse, we have to keep paying EMIs,” said Dharmender Singh, who is fronting a group formed by Apex and Ceyane buyers.
“If nothing else works, we might be left with no option but to file a criminal case against the builders. They have suppressed facts about an ongoing litigation for the last two-three years. And even when the litigation was on, they sold flats,” said Sudeep Mandhanda, a buyer.