Reveal source of Rs 22k cr: SC to Sahara

Reveal source of Rs 22k cr: SC to Sahara

The Supreme Court on Thursday warned the beleaguered Sahara group of strong actions, including a CBI probe into its accounts, if the conglomerate failed to disclose the source of over Rs 22,000 crore which it claimed to have refunded to the investors.

A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar did not like a Sahara official writing to market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and declaring that source of the money was “immaterial” and that more than Rs 20,000 crore had already been refunded to the investors as per the court orders.

The bench described the behaviour of the group and its directors as “obnoxious”.
“Someone from your company has the audacity to say that source is immaterial. If you have refunded the money then you must have the record of the source from where you got the money,” the bench said.

“Don’t think that the court is helpless. We can ask the CBI and the registrar of companies to conduct probe against you. We are not helpless. We will find out the source of money if you don’t reveal it. We would ask the probe agencies to find out,,” the court said.

The court decided to continue with its restraint order against Sahara chief Subrata Roy and other directors from flying abroad.

The court was hearing contempt petitions filed by the Sebi against Roy, the two firms–Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd  and Sahara India Housing Investment Corp Ltd–and their directors for allegedly flouting its orders.

 The bench in August last year ordered the group to refund Rs 24,000 crore that it “illegally” raised from around three crore investors through debentures. Sahara was initially asked to deposit this money with Sebi by November-end. However, this 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 and the remaining amount in the first week of February.

During the hearing, the bench criticised the group over the constant change of stance by the group.

The court said the two companies, being registered under the Sahara group, would have to account for every rupee so it would not be difficult to locate the source of such a huge amount. It also noted “that they cannot evade the questions on source of money.”

The court asked the group to furnish details of the source of money by January 23 to the court as well as Sebi.

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