The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said on Tuesday that it would sell assets of two Sahara group companies if the conglomerate’s chief Subrata Roy and three other top executives fail to appear personally before it on April 10 after furnishing details of their assets and bank accounts.
SEBI, the stock market watchdog, will 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 three directors — Vandana Bhargava, Ravi Shanker Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary — fail to make an appearance.
Properties of Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) and Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL) and the companies’ executives, as well as liquid assets were ordered to be attached in February after SEBI said the Sahara group had defaulted on two payments to investors.
Earlier this month, SEBI moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to arrest Roy.
Sahara catapulted into the limelight in the 1990s with a series of finance schemes for small investors but hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in August last year when the Supreme Court said that schemes run by Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) and Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL) were illegal.
The apex court ruled the group to repay as much Rs. 24,000 crore to millions of investors -- an eye-watering figure almost equal to India's elementary universal education budget.
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 this year.
Last month, SEBI ordered freezing bank accounts and attachment of properties of the two Sahara companies and their top executives for failing to comply with the court's orders. The regulator had said that the January and February instalments were not paid.
Roy has already challenged the attachment orders before the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) and the matter is scheduled for hearing on April 13.
"In these appeals, Sahara have challenged the attachment order passed by SEBI, inter-alia on the grounds that SEBI has no jurisdiction to pass such orders under the SEBI Act and that their documents of redemptions made to investors have been wrongly rejected as "Not Acceptable," said a Sahara group statement.
SEBI said on Tuesday that Roy, Bhargava, Dubey and Choudhary had not provided details of their assets within 21 days of the attachment order dated February 13.
The regulator said it was necessary to examine Roy and three others to ascertain details of their personal assets as also investments and assets of the two companies "to comply with the directions relating to the sale of assets as provided in the orders of the Supreme Court dated August 31, 2012 and December 5, 2012, and to pass necessary orders for the sale of assets for realisation of the monies due".