Mumbai: The capital markets regulator began on Thursday the mammoth task of auctioning off properties owned by the Sahara group of companies, spread over 4,700 acres, in order to raise the bail money needed for its jailed chairman Subrata Roy.
In advertisements published in national dailies, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said that it has put up for sale 10 properties at a reserve price of Rs.1,193.95 crore. These properties are in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh.
HDFC Realty and SBI Capital Markets (SBI Caps), an arm of the State Bank of India, have been mandated with the task of facilitating the sale. The first set of e-auctions will be held in the first week of July.
Sebi was directed by the Supreme Court on 29 March to initiate the sale of Sahara group properties to raise Roy’s bail money, set at Rs.10,000 crore. Mint reported on 28 April that the properties to be sold are estimated to be worth Rs.40,000 crore.
Sebi was asked to devise a procedure to sell the properties, and seek the help of expert agencies where required, following which Sebi appointed SBI Caps and HDFC Realty to sell Sahara’s assets.
The sale is being supervised by retired Supreme Court judge B.N. Agrawal, who is also overseeing the process of Sahara returning the money it owes its investors.
HDFC Realty will sell five properties at a reserve price of Rs.723.95 crore on 4 July through the e-auction process. These properties are in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.
SBI Caps will sell five properties in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat at a reserve price of Rs.470 crore on 7 July.
Sebi has been asked to ensure that the properties are not sold below 90% of their circle rate. Circle rate is the minimum price at which the sale or transfer of a property can take place.
According to few real estate advisers, monetising the assets would be a challenge given the sluggish real estate market in India.
“Every asset will need a unique solution and a one-size-fits-all approach may not be viable to monetise these assets. The opportunities and challenges of each of the assets is unique and will require a detailed study,” said Ramesh Nair, chief operating officer (COO), JLL India, a global property consultant.
Given the sluggish residential market across India, the seller will have to have a realistic price expectation for closure, he added.
As per Sebi’s communication to the apex court, the sale will be completed in four months.
Roy and two Sahara directors, Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary, have been in judicial custody since 4 March 2014 for failing to deliver on promises made to return money two Sahara companies collected from depositors.
Bidya Sapam contributed to this report.
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.