Sahara case: SC refuses to extend deadline for Sebi deposit

The Supreme Court says it will auction the Sahara Group’s Aamby Valley project if Rs5,092.64 crore is not deposit with Sebi by 17 April

A file photo of Supreme Court. Photo: Mint
A file photo of Supreme Court. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday threatened to auction off Aamby Valley if the Sahara India Group does not deposit Rs5,092.64 crore with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) by 17 April.

“Deposit the money or Aamby Valley will be sold,” the court said in an oral observation, referring to Sahara’s high-end township that has already been attached by the court.

The bench of justices Dipak Misra, A.K. Sikri and Ranjan Gogoi asked Sahara in February to sell some of its properties and deposit the money by 17 April. Sahara was expected to raise this money by selling some of its properties.

The court also asked MG Capital Holdings, a US based real-estate company to deposit ₹750 crores as earnest money in Sebi’s dedicated Sahara account by 17 April. In its previous hearing in February it had asked the company to deposit this with the court registry.

Sebi moved the apex court in August 2012 to recover Rs36,000 crore from Sahara to refund investors who bought securities from two group firms. Sebi argued that this money had been raised from the public without its permission. Sebi had asked the court to appoint a receiver who would dispose of Sahara’s domestic and offshore properties and raise the money.

In 2014, Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy was taken in custody after the conglomerate failed to comply with the court’s directions. In an unprecedented move, the court had set Roy’s bail at Rs10,000 crore.

In May 2016, Roy and two of his associates were granted parole by the court. This was extended in the February hearing to 17 April.

Aamby Valley is Sahara’s flagship project consisting of luxury resorts, man-made lakes and an airport. It is spread over 4,000 hectares in Maharashtra.

(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 the Securities and Exchange Board of India. Mint is contesting the case.)

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