Sahara investors untraceable, says Sebi

Regulator says storage cost payable for documents may rise

The goal of locating genuine Sahara investors has become a very costly affair for the regulator Sebi and its expenses may rise further next year from about Rs 60 crore estimated for the current fiscal, sources said.

In the high-profile case involving refund of over Rs 24,000 crore and additional interest of 15 per cent per annum, the Supreme Court had asked Saharas in August 2012 to submit all documents and refund money to the Sebi for further repayments to genuine investors after verifying the documents.

The Sebi feels that the storage cost payable for the documents submitted by the Sahara companies will go up further in the next fiscal 2014-15 due to receipt of additional documents, such as property title deeds submitted by Saharas, as also due to storage of scanned images, sources said.

The Supreme Court had ordered that all expenses incurred by the Sebi in the refund process would be incurred by Saharas.

The regulator has now sought a permission to use a portion of Rs 5,120 crore -- deposited by Saharas for refund to investors – for settling expenses incurred or to be incurred in the matters for carrying out directions of the apex court.

After months of delay, Saharas finally submitted 5.28 crore documents to Sebi without providing "any authentic database and the documents were dumped at Sebi in a totally haphazard fashion," according to the latest status update of the Special Enforcement Cell set up by the regulator for Sahara case.

Sahara group in a statement late on Friday again contested Sebi’s claims that its investors are not traceable.

The group also accused Sebi of planning to siphon off money from the funds deposited with it for the repayment of investors.

“We suspect that this is a highly malicious campaign initiated by Sebi with a very clear intention to siphon off money from the funds that Saharas have deposited purely for the repayment of its investors.

Sebi is maligning Sahara’s name by stating that there are no depositors while in the Supreme Court they have stated that in the last 15 months they had only digitally listed the documents and no verification has been undertaken yet,” the statement said.

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