Supreme Court Allows Markets Regulator Sebi to Sell Sahara Properties

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.

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.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked market regulator Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) to start the process of selling some of embattled conglomerate Sahara’s real estate assets in the country to refund millions of investors in its illegal bonds, lawyers said on Tuesday.

Sahara, a household name in India as the former main sponsor of the national cricket team, has hotels overseas including the Plaza in New York and the Grosvenor House in London, besides vast real estate assets in India.

Its founder Subrata Roy was arrested in March 2014 after the company 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.

The country’s top court in June last year said Sahara, which has been trying to raise funds since Roy’s arrest, needed to repay the entire Rs 36,000 crore ($5.4 billion) the court says it owes investors in illegal bonds.

Sahara has previously said it had repaid 95 per cent of its liability in that plan, which has not been accepted by the court.

On Tuesday, the court asked Sebi, which is seeking redress for the bond investors, to submit a plan for selling Sahara’s 86 properties in the country, said Sahara lawyer Gautam Awasthi.

These properties don’t include any of its overseas assets, Sahara Star hotel in Mumbai and Aamby Valley luxury resort in the hills of western India, which bills itself as India’s first planned city since independence, he said.

Lawyers for both Sahara and Sebi did not identify the properties that would be put on the block.

Sahara lawyer Mr Awasthi said the original documents for the 86 properties were with Sebi, and that they are worth more than Rs 40,000 crore ($6 billion).

($1 = Rs 66.4705)

[“source-ndtv”]