The Supreme Court on Monday said it could not trust the Sahara Group any more, and directed the company to submit title deeds of its properties worth `20,000 crore to market regulator Sebi within three weeks.
“Till the above direction is complied with to the satisfaction of Sebi, the alleged contemnors (respondents) shall not leave the country without the permission of this court,” a special bench of Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice JS Kehar said in its order. The company’s managing worker Subrata Roy is one of the contemnors in the case.
The court said Sebi will examine the title deeds of properties and make their response, which shall be considered by the court on November 20 at the next hearing.
The apex court had on August 31 last year directed the Sahara Group to refund `24,000 crore to thousands of investors by November-end.
The deadline was extended by the Supreme Court, and the group was directed to deposit `5,120 crore immediately in December, `10,000 crore in the first week of January and the rest in the first week of February, 2013.
Sahara handed over a draft for `5,120 crore on December 5, but has failed to pay the rest.
When Sebi expressed reservation over taking title deeds on the ground that it might lead to “other issues,” the bench said: “Everything would be done. You are underestimating the SC.”
“Examine the title deeds and find out its worth. You can also examine how safe it is,” the bench told Sebi counsel Arvind Datar.
Counsel for Sahara CA Sundaram requested the court not to give orders on Sebi’s contempt petitions, as this would bring disrepute to the company, but the court was unrelenting.
But it assured Sahara that its interests would be protected if investors were repaid.