SC tells Sahara to submit property deeds to Sebi

SC tells Sahara to submit property deeds to Sebi

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Sahara group to hand over title deeds of its properties, worth Rs 20,000 crore, to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) within three weeks. If the company fails to do so, its head Subrata Roy and other directors will not be able to leave the country.

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar said the company was playing “hide and seek” and there was no “escape” from depositing investors’ money with Sebi.
Senior advocate C A Sundaram, appearing for Roy, urged the court to consider his client’s behaviour, which had been “above board and not caused any suspicion.” He also submitted that Roy’s reputation and business would be hit by such a decision.

“You have driven everybody round. From day one, restraint was ours,” the bench said. “You indulge too much in hide and seek. We cannot trust you any more. There is no escape for you and the money has to come.”

The bench, however, assured Sahara of protecting its interests if the investors’ money was paid. “Rest assured that we will protect you if you give the money,” it said. The case was posted for hearing on November 20 when the court would consider passing further orders on properties whose title deeds would be handed over to the Sebi.
Sundaram submitted that the company would have to be liquidated for paying Rs 19,000 crore in cash.

He gave details of the properties, including the Ambey Valley, and said the title deeds would run into thousands of pages. There were 30,000 title deeds.

Sebi, however, expressed reservations over accepting the title deeds. The group should sell the properties and hand over the cash, the market regulator said.

The court was hearing three contempt petitions filed by Sebi against Roy, Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd, Sahara India Housing Investment Corp Ltd and their directors.

The court on August 31, 2012, directed the Sahara group to refund Rs 24,000 crore by November. The deadline was further extended and the companies were directed to deposit Rs 5,120 crore immediately and Rs 10,000 crore in the first week of January.

The remaining amount could be submitted in the first week of February. The group handed over a draft for Rs 5,120 crore on December 5. It has reportedly failed to pay the rest.

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