Saturday, November 23, 2013

SC bans sale of Sahara assets, bars Roy from going abroad

New Delhi: In a major jolt to the Sahara group, the Supreme Court on Thursday put an interim ban on the business house disposing of any of its properties, including its housing projects across the country, and restrained its boss Subrata Roy and other top officials from going abroad.

    “We are prima facie satisfied that our order dated October 28, 2013, has not been complied with. The Sahara group companies shall not part with their properties,” a bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar said.

    On October 28, the court had asked Sahara to submit the original title deeds of its assets worth Rs 20,000 crore and warned that failure to do so would result in orders restraining Roy and others from undertaking foreign travel. The court had asked for the title deeds as it had found that two Sahara companies, which were on August 31 last year directed to refund Rs 24,000 crore they had collected from investors in an irregular manner, had used every possible trick to avoid compliance.

    The Sahara firms had paid up Rs 5,120 crore and said the total outstanding after that stood at only Rs 2,000-odd crore, the rest having already been paid back to the investors through field offices.

Can’t go by potential worth of plot: SC to Sahara
New Delhi: The Supreme Court, which has banned the Sahara group from selling its properties, had issued notices to two Sahara companies and the group’s boss Subrata Roy on a contempt petition filed by Sebi over the firms’ failure to refund Rs 24,000 crore collected from investors. While Sahara firms said the outstanding was only about Rs 2,000 crore, Sebi contested the claim and said the companies were not furnishing receipts for refunds they claimed to have made through their field offices.

    During the hearing, senior advocate C A Sundaram told the bench that Sahara had given title deeds of two plots in Mumbai, one of which was a 106-acre parcel at Versova which was independently evaluated to be worth more than Rs 19,000 crore. But Sebi pointed out that the land value was calculated on the basis of its potential worth in 2020 when Sahara would build villas, golf courses and houses on the land. “The government record shows it is valued at Rs 108 crore. This was mainly because it had been declared a no-development zone,” senior advocate Arvind Datar argued for Sebi.

    Though Sundaram tried to explain that the government had allowed development on the land, the bench said it was not going to be taken in by the potential worth of a plot at a future date. When it passed the order restraining the entire group from selling any of its properties, Sundaram said, “I did not understand. Is it because there is some problem with the title deed submitted by the Saharas?”

    The bench said, “It is important for the Saharas to understand that till they comply with the (October 28) orders, they will not be heard. First comply with the orders. We will hear the contempt petition (by Sebi) later. We are restraining the entire group from alienating any immoveable property.” The court has posted the matter for further hearing on December 11 and said Sahara could seek vacation of the interim order once it complies with the October 28 order in letter and spirit.

  • On Oct 28, SC asked Sahara to submit original title deeds of its assets worth 20,000 cr
  • Two Sahara companies were told on Aug 31 last year to refund 24,000 crore irregularly collected from investors
  • Sahara firms paid up 5,120 crore and said only 2,000-odd cr dues remained. Sebi contested the claim
  • On Thursday, SC told Sahara gave title deeds of only two Mumbai plots; Sebi said land value of one was its potential worth in 2020 once a golf course, villas and houses were in place

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