Supreme Court allows market regulator Sebi to sell Sahara properties

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 30, 2016 00:51 IST
Subrata Roy was arrested in March 2014 after Sahara failed to comply with a court order to refund money raised from millions of small investors by selling them bonds later ruled to be illegal. (AFP File Photo)

The Supreme Court has asked market regulator Sebi to start the process of selling 86 “unencumbered” properties of the Sahara group to make bail money for its jailed chief Subrata Roy.

A bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Tuesday not to sell any of the properties, whose title deeds are with the regulator, for less than 90% of the circle rate. It said Sebi will have to take its approval before going ahead with a sale if it receives bids below 90% of the circle rate.

Sahara —which has hotels overseas and vast real estate assets in India — had given the court a list of 86 properties it claims are worth Rs 40,000 crore.

In a statement on Tuesday, it clarified that the court order does not include its foreign properties, Aamby Valley City and Sahara Star hotel.

The court asked Sahara and Sebi to come up with a mechanism for the sale under the supervision of justice BN Aggarwal and seek the help of “experts or expert agencies” if required. It asked both parties to form a committee for this purpose.

During the hearing, Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who is representing Sahara, said, “Nowhere in the world does this type of case happen. There is no jurisdiction in the world that allows a person to be inside jail for two years without any charge.” The judges, however, did not take kindly to the retort.

Roy has been in jail since his arrest in March 2014 for failing to refund millions of investors sold bonds by Sahara that were later ruled illegal. The court has set bail at Rs 10,000 crore — to be paid half in cash and half as a bank guarantee — and also said Sahara must pay the entire Rs 36,000 crore it owes the investors. Sahara says it has already paid the Rs 5,000-crore cash component. It had also claimed earlier to have paid 95% of the refund amount, but this was not accepted by the court.

With inputs from agencies

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