Mumbai, Aug 14: In a major setback to Subrata Roys’ Sahara Group, the Bombay High Court on Monday put up its prestigious Aamby Valley city properties in Maharashtra for public auction.
The Official Liquidator of the High Court has set a reserve price of Rs 37,392 crore for the Aamby Valley City in the twin hill stations of Lovala-Khandala as part of efforts to partially recover the Sahara Group’s pending dues to various lenders and investors.
The auction process was initiated three days after the Supreme Court declined to entertain the group’s plea to postpone the auction of its prime properties nestled in the lush green Western Ghats in Pune district.
However, as per the apex court directive, if the Sahara Group can raise and deposit Rs 1,500 crore before the net date of hearing, the auction process would be withdrawn.
Official Liquidator Vinod Sharma issued notices in the media on Monday opening up the public auction of “sale/lease” on an “as-is-where-is-whatever-there is” of the Aamby Valley City, around 120 km from here.
In view of the huge quantum of properties to be disposed, the auction would be conducted in two phases spread over two days, the notice said.
The first phase would include the verification of the KYC of prospective bidders. After they qualify, they would be required to submit bids with 15 per cent of Reserve Price, or roughly Rs 6,000 crore, as earnest money deposit, a Sahara Group official said.
Sahara’s lawyer Gautam Awasthi said that there are “several steps” before the actual auction will take place.
At the last hearing, the SC had approved the liquidator to execute two initial steps of the auction process, the first being to issue media ads inviting bidders and second to verify their KYC.
Awasthi said Sahara had sought the SC’s permission to enter into deal with Victor Koenig UK Ltd through its nominee, Royale Partners Investment Fund Ltd (Mauritius), for an investment of $1.67 billion in the Aamby Valley.
“The SC permitted Sahara to enter into negotiations with them for the (investment) and deposit Rs 1,500 crore before the next hearing. The SC had said in the last hearing that if the Rs 1,500 crore is deposited before the next date, then the auction process will be withdrawn,” he said.
The total property to go under the hammer is 8,493.163 acres, comprising an integrated hill-city township called Aamby Valley City Development, which was the first of its kind Megalopolis in India.
As per the liquidator’s stated reserve price, this works out to around Rs 4, 40, 26,000 per acre. (IANS)