New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday told Sahara India chief Subrata Roy to deposit Rs600 crore by 6 February, failing which he would have to surrender.
Sahara submitted a fresh road map to repay its investors, seeking to pay over Rs300 crore over two-and-a-half years.
A bench comprising Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and justices Rajan Gogoi and A.K. Sikri asked market regulator Securities Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and amicus curiae (friend of the court) Shekhar Naphade to respond to Sahara’s new proposal.
“This case has a history. Tell us why Sahara is entitled or disentitled to have this fresh proposal approved,” the court asked.
Sahara’s lawyer, Kapil Sibal, told the court that the new road map will be on the personal guarantee of the group’s chairperson, Subrata Roy.
“If we are unable to honour our promise of payment, Roy will surrender to the court immediately,” he told the court.
According to Sahara’s submissions in court, about Rs11,000 crore has already been deposited with the market regulator and around Rs1,200 crore has been paid ever since Roy has been out on parole since May.
“The road map was to be mutually agreeable. However, Sebi has left it to the court to decide. The time frame of two-and-a-half years cannot be expedited any further, given the extremely depressed market conditions,” Sahara said in a statement.
Naphade agreed with Sahara’s contention that adverse market conditions prevent the group from repaying investors any sooner. “Even Sebi has found it difficult to dispose of Sahara’s properties,” he said.
Roy, his brother in law Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey, a Sahara director, were granted parole on 6 May conditionally against a collateral of land worth Rs6,109 crore to perform his mother’s last rites. The parole has since then been extended at least five times on a payment of Rs200 crore each time.
Roy, Dubey and Roy Choudhary had been in judicial custody since 4 March 2014 for failing to deliver on promises made to return the money two Sahara firms collected from depositors. On 26 March that year, the court set the bail amount at an unprecedented Rs10,000 crore— half in cash and half as bank guarantee.
In March, Sahara completed the cash payment of Rs5,000 crore towards bail for Roy and the two directors while the bank guarantee of Rs5,000 crore is pending.
Sebi moved the apex court in August to recover Rs36,000 crore from Sahara to refund investors who bought securities from the two group firms. Sebi had asked the court to appoint a receiver who would dispose of Sahara’s domestic and offshore properties and raise the money.
The court also said that appointing a receiver to sell Sahara’s properties was a possibility if the road map did not fructify.
The case will be heard next on 6 February.