8:34 pm - Wednesday November 4, 2015

Sahara offers to sell iconic hotels to repay investors

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Sahara Group on Monday offered to sell its luxurious hotels in London and New York to comply with a Supreme Court (SC) order to repay investors, in its latest bid to have its chief released from jail, where he has been held since March 4.
Sahara chairman Subrata Roy was jailed after failing to appear at a contempt hearing in a long- running legal battle between his group and the Indian capital markets regulator Sebi.
The newly constituted Supreme Court bench also rejected Roy’s plea for release to enable him to arrange Rs 20,000 crores for refunding the investors and even rejected his request for a house arrest.
Sahara’s lawyers claimed the luxury property were worth Rs 17,000 crores.
Just when the bench was about to pass an order in this regard, Sebi said the valuation was far exaggerated and the real value was less than Rs 4,500 crores. Sebi also raised suspicion that these properties were not free to be sold and were involved in some legal disputes.
The court then asked Sahara to submit a list of properties they were willing to sell and also mention their correct value and also submit to court letter of intents from prospective purchasers.
The new Supreme Court bench comprising justices T. S. Thakur and A. K. Sikri agreed to consider various requests including defreezing of bank accounts, lifting of embargo on fixed deposits and to allow the group to sell certain property to raise money for securing bail and also to repay investors.
Roy’s lawyers pleaded with the bench to free Roy to enable him to arrange the money saying “nothing is possible with him in jail as he is the face of the group and is required for extensive negotiations”. But the bench retorted: ” Mr. Dhavan you mean to say allow me to come out and then I will pay the amount but this is against the spirit of the earlier order”. The bench also rejected the plea for keeping Roy under house arrest.

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