The supreme court on Monday issued notice to Sahara group asking it why a receiver should not be appointed to take the charge of its properties for recovery of about Rs.36,000 crore that its two companies SIRECL and SHICL had collected from investors in 2008-09.
A bench of justice T.S.Thakur, justice Anil R. Dave and justice A.K.Sikri issued notice to Sahara on an application by capital market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India for the appointment of receiver as Sahara has failed to comply with the court’s 31 August 2012, order to return investors Rs.17,400 crore with an interest of 15 percent per annum.
This amount has now touched Rs. 36,000 crore mark with interest component.
The court has given Sahara four weeks time to respond to the notice and another two weeks time to SEBI if it wanted to file any rejoinder to Sahara’s reply. Sahara, represented by senior counsel Kapil Sibal, had sought six weeks time to respond to SEBI application for appointment of a receiver after initially, making an attempt to ward off the application.
The court on Monday also extended, by another six weeks, special facilities to Sahara chief Subrata Roy to facilitate communication for negotiating transactions to raise money to pay market regulator for returning investors money and also his release from the Tihar Jail where he is lodged since 4 March 2014.
Roy and two other directors of Sahara companies – Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary – are in judicial custody since 4 March 2014 for the failure of group companies SIRECL and SHICL to comply with apex court’s 31 August 2012 and 5 December 2012 orders to return the money.
In the meantime, the court was informed that a British Virgin Islands based company Helvetia was going to invest money in the development of Sahara’s Aamby Valley project and also take over the charge of its three overseas hotels – one in London and two in New York – from Reuben Brothers.
This was informed to the court by senior counsel L. Nageshwar Rao who appeared for Helvetia which is making available the funds that would also be used by Sahara for furnishing the bank guarantee of Rs.5000 crore besides Rs.5,0000 crore that Sahara has to pay to SEBI in cash for the twin purposes of repaying the investors’ dues as well a condition for the release of Roy, Dubey and Chaudhary.
Refusing to take the application by Helvetia on record, the court said that it was not concerned with whatever arrangements that Sahara was entering into for raising the money to pay SEBI Rs.10,000 crore – Rs.5,000 crore in cash and Rs.5,000 crore – by way of a bank guarantee.