The Sahara real estate corporation and Sahara housing investment corporation have sought discharge from a 2012 case filed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India, which alleged that Sahara had violated its rules.
A special court was scheduled to hear the arguments regarding the charges applicable to the two companies and its directors, including chief Subrata Roy. However, Roy did not appear before the court on Thursday, citing poor health.
His lawyer Ashok Sarogi filed an application, seeking to exempt Roy from coming to the court. However, the court questioned the veracity of a doctor’s certificate provided by Roy and rejected his application.
“We told the court that it can verify the report and also question the doctor,” Sarogi said. The court has now issued a notice to the doctor, asking him to attend the next hearing, scheduled for June 7.
Meanwhile, Sarogi has moved a discharge plea for the companies and their directors on the grounds of double jeopardy or dual prosecution. “We moved a discharge plea as the company and its directors are facing a trial in Delhi over the same allegations. A company or person cannot be prosecuted twice for the same offence. If the company is not prosecuted, how can there be a case against its directors? The case against the directors automatically becomes fruitless,” he said.
In November 2012, the SEBI accused Sahara of issuing optionally fully convertible debentures to the public in 2009 under the guide of private placement, which is violation of the SEBI Act.
According to the Company Act, if a firm has to collect money from more than 50 people, it must seek payments through a recognised stock exchange without listing shares, said an official who did not wish to be identified.
“The firms had collected around ₹24,000 crore in the name of Sahara real estate corporation and Sahara housing investment corporation. This amounts to criminal offence,” he alleged.
Roy and the firms’ other directors allegedly violated Section 24 of the SEBI Act. If convicted, they can be jailed for up to 10 years or fined ₹25 crore.
The court recently cancelled the non-bailable warrant it had issued against Roy on March 31, after he failed to appear before the court.