The Supreme Court gave on Tuesday time till April 13 to the Sahara Group to sell their properties and raise Rs 5092.64 crore to deposit it with SEBI towards the refund of investors’ money.
A special bench of three judges headed by Justice Dipak Misra also sought on the next hearing (April 17) the presence of Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) that has acquired 91,65 acres land belonging to Sahara. GDA is expected to compensate the company to the tune of Rs 1112.70 crore.
The company’s plea to give it six months’ time was turned down, with the court saying that it could extend the time if Sahara deposited the amount before the deadline ends. The court extended Sahara boss Subrata Roy’s parole till the next hearing.
Roy was released in May last year, two years after he was sent to Tihar jail for defying orders asking him to appear in the top court.
In accordance with the last order, Sahara’s counsel, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, submitted a list of 15 unencumbered properties that could be sold to realise money Sahara is required to deposit with market regulator – SEBI – to ensure Roy remains out of jail. A separate list of encumbered properties was also given to the court.
Although the SEBI counsel submitted it was difficult to auction the properties as previous attempts could not get desired results, the court still gave chance to Sahara. But, Sibal’s plea to let the court keep the properties as security and allow the company to arrange money in six months was not accepted.
The court allowed Sahara to sell 13 of the 15 unencumbered properties and also permitted it to dispose some of the ones mentioned in list two, provided there is no claim against it. Some of Sahara’s prime properties that might go under the hammer are Sahara hospital in Lucknow and its city home projects in Lucknow, Coimbatore, Bhopal, Indore and Guna.
Sahara’s prime property Aamby Valley – worth Rs 39,000 crore – is already attached as per the top court’s February 8 order that was passed after the company failed to pay over Rs 14,000 crore it owed to its investors.
The court also directed a foreign real estate company – keen to buy Sahara’s stake in Hotel Plaza in New York – to deposit Rs 750 crore to show its bona fides.
Sahara has already deposited more than Rs 11,000 crore with SEBI and Rs 14,779 crore of the principal amount remains to be paid. On the last date of hearing, the company handed over bank drafts for over Rs 600 crore to SEBI in the court.