12:55 am - Friday July 19, 2024

Subrata stays in jail but Sahara accounts de-frozen

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court reiterated its “no money, no release” order for Sahara group chief Subrata Roy, who has been detained since March 4, but in a relief relaxed orders freezing bank accounts and properties to provide Saharas with the means to raise the money needed for meeting bail condition.

The court allowed Saharas to operate bank accounts, sell FDRs, securities and government bonds, which is estimated to fetch nearly Rs 2,500 crore. It also lifted attachment orders on nine properties for sale, which would fetch another Rs 4,500 crore.

However, the court said Saharas could not sell the properties to relatives or below the circle rate or the estimated price. Moreover, if there was excess cash from these transactions after depositing Rs 5,000 crore in Sebi’s designated account, then Saharas would have to put it in a separate account. The bench referred the Sahara case to a three-judge bench and said this proposal would now be considered by the new bench. It also appointed senior advocate Fali S Nariman as amicus curiae. But Saharas’ counsel Gaurav Kejriwal and Keshav Mohan fairly informed the court that Nariman had appeared for Saharas in this case before. The bench said if Nariman declined the assignment, then it would consider other names.

On the proposal to sale Grosvenor House hotel in London and two other hotels in New York, the Saharas could furnish the consent letter from Bank of China, which had advanced loans for the purchase of these properties.

“The fact that valuation reports regarding the three assets were prepared at the instance of Bank of China, shall also have to be verified and confirmed by Bank of China, especially because no sale of the assets in question can be permitted at a price lesser than the price at which the said assets have been valued by the valuers, who are said to be valuers of repute. Directions regarding sale of properties outside the country can, therefore, await the furnishing of information and verification of the facts,” it said.

Refusing to release Roy and two directors from prison on assurance that Rs 5,000 crore in cash and Rs 5,000 crore in bank guarantee would be deposited within a specified time frame, a bench of Justices T S Thakur and A K Sikri noted that the total outstanding against two Sahara companies — Sahara Real Estate and Sahara Housing — have by now touched an enormous figure of Rs 33,000- 35,000 crore with interest.

Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Thakur said even if the contemnors were released on interim bail after they met the release condition, “they will have to arrange the deposit of the balance amount, which again is very substantial.”

Sahara welcomes court ruling, says it will be vindicated

NEW DELHI: Sahara advocate Sudip Seth has issued a statement in which the group has expressed its gratitude to the court and faith in its wisdom for defreezing its accounts. The statement added, “From November 2013 all bank accounts of the group, every inch of immovable properties and every gram of movable properties were frozen and … Sahara was not in a situation to get or raise even Rs 100.”

The advocate wondered why the bail order of Rs 5000 crore cash plus Rs 5000 crore bank guarantee was given without lifting any embargos. “We are very thankful that today we got clearances of bank accounts and certain select properties. However, the fact remains that Sahara has already repaid 93% of the investors, mostly in cash, and has submitted all the repayment vouchers, receipts and other documents in original with Sebi, which Sebi has to verify.”

The statement added that Sahara has to pay twice for one liability (double payment for the same liability) to honour the court order. “Actual repayments pending are around Rs 2,500 crore only. The truth is that there is not even one complaint against Sahara, while Rs 5,600 crore is lying with Sebi from Sahara. Of course, all money shall ultimately come back to Sahara after verifications.”

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