If Sahara group's Subrata Roy has had time to reflect on the past these few days since his arrest, one date would have stood out — September 29, 2009.
On that day, Sahara Prime City filed its draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with SEBI, seeking the go-ahead for an initial public offering.
On Page No. 640 in the 934-page offer document, Sahara Prime City had an innocuous mention of some tax-related issues, which included a Rs 35.57 crore dispute with the income tax department over accepting OFCDs (or optionally fully convertible debentures) from investors by way of cash, instead of cheques or demand drafts as mandated. SEBI dispatched a routine query to merchant bankers.
When the Sahara Group dithered on furnishing the information, officers in SEBI’s head office in Mumbai decided to investigate further, leading to the collapse of what many call a house of cards.
The rest, as they say, is history.