Under pressure from a long- running investor refund battle with Sebi, the Sahara group has informed its staff that their salaries may get delayed due to prevailing adverse situation, including attachment of its bank accounts.
The group is working hard to normalise things despite adverse conditions, it said, adding that staff salaries for March, 2014, scheduled to be released tomorrow, may get delayed because of "unforeseen reasons".
In a circular, Sahara India Pariwar's Chief General Manager (HR) Gaurav Sharma has told all business divisions and department heads to inform workers in their respective divisions and departments about the delay and urge them "to stay united in this challenging phase".
The Sahara group has been fighting a long-running battle with markets regulator Sebi over refund to investors from which two group entities had raised over Rs 24,000 crore through issuance of certain bonds.
Sahara had deposited Rs 5,120 crore with Sebi in December 2012, but claimed that it had already refunded over Rs 20,000 crore directly to investors.
Rejecting these claims, Sebi in February, 2013 had ordered attachment of all bank accounts and frozen all its assets last year.
Interestingly, the staff circular has been issued within days of an entity related to the group floating the idea for collection of at least Rs 1 lakh each from Sahara employees and 'well-wishers' to garner necessary funds to secure group chief Subrata Roy's release from Tihar Jail.
65-year-old Roy has been in Tihar jail since March 4.The Supreme Court had earlier this month proposed a conditional interim bail for him asking the group to deposit Rs 10,000 crore, including Rs 5,000 crore as bank guarantee.
"As you all are aware, Sahara India Pariwar an emotionally integrated family, since inception has always ensured that salaries are paid on the first day of every month without any compromise whatsoever," Sharma said in the circular.
"However, with the prevailing restrictions imposed on us in operating the bank accounts of the group companies we are unable to utilise even the available fund.
"In spite of the ongoing hardship, we are making sincere efforts to normalise the situation, but for now, we regret to inform you that disbursal of salary for the month of March 2014 will be delayed," the circular added.
Sharma further said that the workers would be kept "updated about the developments on continual basis".