The Securities Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Wednesday questioned Subrata Roy, managing worker and chairman of the Sahara Group, and three directors, seeking details of their assets and bank accounts.
“They presented (before Sebi) the details of their personal assets. Roy’s personal assets were around Rs. 3 crore only,” a Sahara Group press statement said.
Sebi, the stock market watchdog, had said it would seek the sale of properties across the country ranging from the posh Aamby Valley near Pune to land in Mumbai, Delhi and Gurgaon if Roy and directors Vandana Bhargava, Ravi Shanker Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary failed to appear before it on April 10.
On August 31, the Supreme Court ruled that finance schemes run by Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) and Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL) were illegal and asked them to repay Rs. 24,000 crore to millions of investors.
Properties of SHICL and SIRECL and the companies' executives as well as liquid assets were ordered attached in February after Sebi said the Sahara group had defaulted on two payments to investors.
Last month, the watchdog moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to arrest Roy.
“Roy on coming out of Sebi's office spoke to the waiting press and declared his firm faith that nobody on this earth can prove right as wrong and said Sebi is only fighting everyday to get more money from Sahara. It is orchestrating leaks to press because of which Sahara is facing media trial regularly,” the Sahara statement said. Roy told reporters that Sebi's questions were limited to his personal assets even as the Mumbai branch of economic offences wing launched a preliminary investigation against the group.
In December, the group was allowed to pay the money in three instalments, with an immediate payment of Rs. 5,120 crore to be followed by a tranche of Rs. 10,000 crore in the first week of January and the rest by the first week of February.
“Subrata Roy requested and conveyed his grave concern that unmatured accounts should get their money back for which Sahara has already paid Rs. 5,120 crore to Sebi and Sebi has not taken any initiative,” the statement said.
He also requested that Sebi take all possible initiatives to accelerate repayments and verifications of documents, it added.
Roy has already challenged the attachment orders before the securities appellate tribunal and the matter is up for hearing on April 13.
“I want to payback refunds as soon as possible. But over the last seven months, Sebi has done nothing for me to be able to return refunds to those who haven't received them yet,” Roy told reporters after meeting Sebi officials.
“Sebi wasted time by not verifying the base of investors we provided them.”