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Sell Sahara properties to repay investors: Supreme Court

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  30 March 2016 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, March 29: The Supreme Court on Tuesday paved the way for the markets regulator SEBI to sell some 86 properties of Subrata Roy-led Sahara group, worth an estimated Rs.40,000 crore, giving hope to tens of thousands of investors who put their money in its various schemes.

The directions from the bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice A.K. Sikri came after it found that Sahara group was yet to mobilise the Rs.10,000 crore towards the bail amount to secure the release of Subrata Roy, who is lodged in Tihar Jail since March 2014.

“Start working on that. You are now free to go ahead,” the bench told the watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). As regards Roy, the bench firmly said: “The only way he can come out is by complying with our orders.”

Two other directors of Sahara — Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary — are also in jail. The Sahara group is said to origilly owe around Rs.24,000 crore to investors. The apex court by its August 31, 2012, order had directed Sahara to return the money with 15 percent interest. Counsel for the watchdog had estimated the dues to be worth around Rs.36,000 crore last month.

The apex court said the entire process of sale of Sahara properties will be overseen by former Supreme Court judge Justice B.N. Agarwala and that the Sahara group will be kept informed on the steps being taken for the disposal of the properies.

No property shall be sold below 90 percent of its prevailing circle rates, the bench said. Also, no deadline has been fixed to complete the process. Sahara has already furnished the title deeds of the 86 properties to facilitate the sale.

Noting that the market regulator had 20 unencumbered title deeds thus far worth Rs.20,000 crore, the court asked the Sahara group to furnish other unencumbered title deeds of another Rs.20,000 crore.

The step is being taken to recover money that Sahara’s two firms had collected from the public by way of optiolly fully convertible debentures. The SEBI has been directed to appoint an agency to decide the mechanism for the sale of properties. (IANS)

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