Coming down heavily on the Sahara Group, the Supreme Court on Monday ordered its chairman Subrata Roy and the other alleged contemnors to submit original title deeds of property worth R20,000 crore to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) within three weeks, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi.
The apex court said that the if the Sahara Group fails to do so, Roy and the other three directors cannot leave the country without its permission. The court ordered that the documents should be accompanied by a valuation report from an approved valuer. The SC’s order came in a contempt petition filed by Sebi against two Sahara firms — Sahara India Real Estate and Sahara Housing Investment — and their directors. The two companies had raised around R24,000 crore through optionally fully convertible debentures and was ordered by the court in December last year to refund it to the investors in instalments by February this year, which the group failed to do. Rather, it maintained that it owed only R5,120 crore, which has been paid to Sebi. The bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and JS Khehar passed the order stating that the company was “inconsistent”. “There is no escape. This money has to come in. We can’t trust you any more. You have played too much hide and seek,” it observed, while posting the matter for further hearing on November 20. The judges had initially proposed restricting the movement of the alleged contemnors from Monday itself but on assurances from Sahara counsel CA Sundaram finally said that the order will come into force if they failed to submit the title deeds within three weeks.
Slamming Sahara for using delaying tactics, Khehar said: “On one hand you say that you have the entire money with you and you are safe, but then you don't pay... There are so many causes to suspicion.”
Last month, the apex court had asked the Sahara Group to “make concrete, crystallised offer” to secure around Rs 20,000 crore, to be returned to its 3.3 crore investors. It asked both Sebi and the Sahara Group to arrive at a mutually acceptable mechanism.
Sebi had rejected Sahara's offer to secure the amount through immoveable property entrusted with Punjab National Bank, which will do the valuation of the assets, saying the group should give these title deeds free from any encumbrance to it rather than the bank.