Markets regulator Sebi has moved the Supreme Court seeking direction to two Sahara firms to pay Rs 62,602.90 crore in compliance with the court’s earlier orders, failing which the group’s chief Subrata Roy be taken into custody.
Sebi said the contemnors, Roy and his two firms– Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd. (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd. (SHICL) — are in “gross violation” of various orders passed by the court regarding the deposit of entire monies collected along with the interest.
Despite the top court granting various reliefs to Roy and his firms, they have neglected and failed to comply with various orders passed by this court, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said.
In its intervention application filed on November 18, Sebi said the “contemnors have not been complying with the orders passed by this Court despite the long rope provided to them” and their liability is increasing daily.
“The contemnors are enjoying their release from custody’ as granted by this court vide order dated May 6, 20l6, further extended by this Court from time to time ‘without even any attempt at compliance with the orders passed by this Court,” it said.
The markets regulator said that it would be just, expedient and in the interest of justice that this court passes appropriate orders directing the Saharas to forthwith deposit the balance amount, which was Rs 62,602.90 crore as on September 30 this year, in Sebi-SAHARA refund account.
Failing this, Sebi said, “the contemnors may be directed to be taken into custody” as was directed by the top court in its verdict on June 15, 2015.
The top court on August 31, 2012, in a series of directions, had directed that SIRECL and SHICL would refund the amount collected from individual investors or group of investors, with an interest of 15 per cent per annum to Sebi, from the date of receipt of the subscription amount till the date of repayment within three months to be deposited in a nationalised bank bearing maximum rate of interest.
The Sahara firms were also directed by the top court in 2012 to furnish the details with supporting documents to Sebi for establishing whether they had refunded any amount to the persons who had subscribed to the groups’ schemes. The Sebi said that as per the statements filed by Saharas on June 14, 2012, the outstanding liability of SIRECL as on April 30, 2012, stood at Rs 16,997 crores (principal amount) and the outstanding of liability of SHICL as on April 30, 2012, stood at Rs 6352 crores (principal amount). It said, “in spite of the aforesaid clear directions giving clear timelines, the respondents (SIRECL and SHICL) in utter disregard, disrespect and disobedience of the directions of this court deliberately and wilfully, did not comply with any of the directions and thereby committed contempt of this court”.
The Sebi further stated that in terms of the 2012 order of the top court Sahara firms have till date deposited Rs 15,455.70 crore which has been invested in fixed deposits of various nationalised banks and as on September 30, 2020, the total amount along with interest earned in Sebi-Sahara refund account is Rs 22,589.01 crore.
It said that out of the total outstanding principal liability of Rs 25,781.32 crore, Sebi has realised only Rs 15,455.70 crore from Saharas and from the sale of properties of the group.
“The balance amount of Rs 10,325.62 crore (principal amount) is still to be paid by Saharas. It is submitted that as on September 30, 2020, the total net liability of Saharas was Rs 62,602.90 crore taking into consideration interest at Rs 15 per cent in terms of directions of this court dated August 31, 2012,” it said.
On January 24, the top court had exempted Roy and two other directors from personal appearance till “further orders” in a case related to their alleged failure in depositing over Rs 25,700 crore in the Sebi-Sahara account for returning investors’ money. The top court, on January 31 last year, had directed Roy and two other directors, Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary, to personally appear before it “to enable the court to pass appropriate orders so that the law can take its own course and reach the desired conclusion”.
It had said that the efforts of the Sahara group to pay back did not “inspire the confidence of the court” as its order for deposit of over Rs 25,700 crore has not been complied with so far.
Roy was sent to the Tihar Jail by the apex court on March 4, 2014, and came out on parole after spending over two years in prison on May 6, 2016, to perform the last rites of his mother Chhabi Roy. He has been out of prison since then.
Earlier, the apex court had noted that the Sahara group has already deposited around Rs 20,000 crore in the Sebi-Sahara account, which includes Rs 15,000 crore principal amount and Rs 4,800 crore interest.
In July 2018, the auctioning process of Sahara group’s prized Aamby Valley properties was put off by the top court after it was informed that the auction notice did not elicit any response from prospective buyers.
Roy and two other directors were arrested for the failure of the group’s two companies — SIRECL and SHICL — to comply with the court’s August 31, 2012 order to return Rs 25,000 crore to their investors.