Mumbai: Sahara India Pariwar on Saturday issued an advertisement in leading newspapers in which it said that the group’s total outstanding liability to optionally fully convertible debenture (OFCD) holders is Rs.3,663.93crore. The new outstanding liability as claimed by the Sahara group is Rs.1,043.93 crore more than the Rs.2,620 crore it had cited previously.
In December, the Sahara group had in a similar advertisement said it had over a period of time “redeemed the OFCDs issued to the investors and presently the total outstanding liabilities of both the companies is Rs.2,620 crore only”.
More than “50% of the amount is no longer an outstanding liability since the company has repaid to its distant rural area investors and such amounts are in the process of multipoint verification”, the company said in a clarification issued by email on Saturday evening that also sought to address the difference mentioned above.
“We had declared Rs.2,620 crore as liability and Rs.2,500 crore as buffer and this buffer covers the amount which is mentioned above,” the email said.
“As per the advice of our legal team based on the demand of the Hon’ble Supreme Court we have clubbed the two in declaring as our outstanding liability,” Sahara said in its email. “But the fact is that the outstanding liability is much lower than Rs.3,663.93 crore and also correspondingly the interest amount is much lower as liability.”
The advertisement said that while the total collection of the two companies—Sahara India Real Estate Corp. Ltd (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp. Ltd (SHICL)—was Rs.25,781.32 crore, the firms have repaid Rs.22,117.39 crore, or about 86% of the money raised.
The advertisement further noted that “interest @15% on this above amount is Rs 1,370.53 crore”. It is not clear whether this is part of the Rs.3,663.93 crore outstanding liability.
If this is added to the outstanding liability, then the total amount owed by Sahara comes to Rs.5,034.46 crore.
Sahara said it has already paid Rs.5,120 crore to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), and “as on today, Sahara has nothing to pay rather Sahara shall soon be eligible to take a big refund from Sebi”.
The advertisement also said SIRECL and SHICL have invested their money in real estate projects and shares of real estate firms that have already been returned to them with profits. The Sahara group has bank loans of just Rs.650 crore, the advertisement said.
“The news about mortgage of the properties of the two companies are completely wrong, misconceived and baseless,” the advertisement said.
According to the advertisement, SIRECL and SHICL will submit their provisional balance sheet as of 31 December 2012 to Sebi within a week.
On 13 February, Sebi ordered a freeze on all bank accounts of SIRECL and SHICL, their promoters and directors following the Supreme Court’s criticism of the delay in action by the regulator.
Sebi also attached several properties, development rights in projects and equity stakes in other group firms owned by SIRECL and SHICL.
The Supreme Court on 6 February questioned Sebi’s inaction against the two Sahara firms despite having the power to freeze bank accounts and seize properties in pursuit of refunds of the money raised by the firms through the issuance of OFCDs to 29.6 million investors.
Sahara has filed a defamation case in a Patna court against Mint’s editor and some reporters over the newspaper’s coverage of the company’s dispute with Sebi. Mint is contesting the case.