Apex court summons Subrata Roy, Sahara directors

Apex court summons Subrata Roy, Sahara directors

 Coming down heavily on the Sahara group for not refunding Rs 20,000 crore of investors money despite its order, the Supreme Court on Thursday summoned its chief Subrata Roy to be personally present before it and allowed the Sebi to go ahead with the sale of companies' properties.

The apex court also directed Ravi Shankar Dubey, Ashok Roy Choudhary and Vandana Bhargava, directors of its firms–Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIREC) and Sahara India Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHIC)–to appear before it on February 26.

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar also asked Sebi to sell the properties of the group whose sale deeds were handed over to the market regulator to recover Rs 20,000 crore.

“Those properties you can sell. We allow you to sell them and recover the money. If they are encumbered properties then you can file criminal case against the company. The case must be brought to a logical conclusion,” the bench said raising question on the way the group has been defying its order for the last one-and-a-half years.

The bench said the Sebi can put those properties on auction and get the money.
“What is the difficulty in selling the property. Put it on auction and get the money. Forget about the value of the property,” the bench told Sebi after the market regulator said that let the company itself sell the properties and deposit the money.

“Our feeling is that they won't do it and we don't trust them so you do it,” the bench said.
The apex court in its judgement of August 31, 2012 had directed Sebi to attach properties and recover the money.

Sending a clear message that the court is not "helpless" in taking action for flouting its directions, the apex court had on November 21 last year barred Roy from leaving the country and also restrained the group from selling any of its properties.

The bench also questioned the group for raising the defence that the company had already returned the money to the investors.

It said this claim was earlier rejected by a three judge bench and there was no need to raise it again.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the group, submitted that it will go through the previous order and put forth its view on the next date of hearing. The apex court had on August 31, 2012 directed the Sahara group to refund Rs 24,000 crore by November end. The deadline was further extended and the companies were directed to deposit Rs 5,120 crore immediately and Rs 10,000 crore in first week of January 2013 and the remaining amount in first week of February.

The group, which had handed over the draft of Rs 5,120 crore on December 5, has been accused of failing to pay the rest of the amount.

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