Sahara India chief Subrata Roy’s continued stay in prison is beginning to hurt his businesses. On Monday, the group told its 1.13 million employees that “…we regret to inform you that disbursal of salary for the month of March 2014 will be delayed”.
A letter from the Gaurav Sharma, chief general manager-worker, HR, to all of Sahara’s business divisions and department heads, blamed “the prevailing restrictions imposed” by stock market regulator Securities Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on operating its bank accounts for the delay. HT has a copy of this letter.
The Sahara Group has been embroiled in a long-running battle with Sebi over alleged non-return of Rs. 20,000 crore to over two million depositors. The matter is being adjudicated by the Supreme Court, which sent Roy and two senior Sahara executives to Tihar Jail on March 4 pending the submission of a plan by the group to return the money. The case will come up for hearing again on April 3.
During the course of this legal battle, Sebi had last year attached several bank accounts and frozen many of the Sahara Group’s assets, including the posh hill town Aamby Valley near Pune and land in Mumbai, Delhi and Gurgaon.
Last week, the company’s lawyers told Supreme Court that Sahara could not afford the Rs. 10,000 crore the apex court wanted the group to deposit as a condition for granting Roy and his colleagues bail.
Efforts are on within the group to raise this amount from individual employees but till late on Monday evening it wasn’t clear how many employees had responded to the call or how much had been raised.
The company’s letter claims that since inception, it has ensured that salaries are paid on the first day of every month without any compromise whatsoever. The letter also says the company is unable to utilise even the available funds, due to the restrictions, but is making efforts to normalise the situation.