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SC pulls up Sahara chief

New Delhi, April 22, 2013, DHNS: 2:11 IST
File photo.

The Supreme Court on Monday sought an explanation from Sahara group promoter Subrata Roy and two other directors as to why they should not be detained for their failure to refund Rs 24,000 crore to investors.

A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar also chided Roy for “manipulating” courts and trying to make the case an “endless exercise”.

The court pulled up the group for failing to respond to its contempt notice for not initiating action for their alleged breach of its orders on refunding the money to the investors and depositing all documents with the Sebi for verification of investors and payments.

The Sebi has sought detention of Roy and directors Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey, in view of their “open, continued and consistent defiance” of the directive to refund money.

Before giving Sahara a week to respond to Sebi’s contempt petition and another plea seeking top brass detention, the court asked, “Are you supposed to sit and relax when notice is issued to you? We think you are trying to make the case an endless exercise.”

The court had in August 2011 asked two Sahara firms -- Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation (SHICL) – to refund Rs 24,000 crore collected from investors through “illegally” raised optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCDs) by November 30 last year.

‘Very strange’

The bench described as “very strange” Sahara’s bid to seek extension of time and other reliefs from various fora despite the SC order.

“What has been happening? You are filing appeals after appeals. Why did you move the Allahabad High Court against the Sebi attachment order? How can you go to the HC? You are manipulating courts. Attempts are made to overreach orders of this court. We are surprised with what you are doing. We will take it seriously” the bench said.

The bench rejected an argument advanced by Sahara’s counsel that they were compelled to approach HC and SAT as the Sebi had gone beyond the scope of the SC order by passing certain orders, including attachment of personal properties of the directors.

The court said, the Sebi was at liberty to take any action it felt necessary to make its directives enforceable.

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