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New Delhi: Even as the Supreme Court gave a final chance to the troubled Sahara group to raise funds to secure bail for its jailed chief Subrata Roy, New York-based Mirach Capital Group has announced that it is filing a $400 million defamation lawsuit against the Sahara group and a news organization it alleges to be a collaborator.

Dubbing Sahara’s allegations of cheating, forgery, and contempt of court “unfounded", Mirach said on Monday: “Unable to make payments on the interest of the proposed loan package, and being an unwilling seller of the properties, Sahara launched a series of false allegations to discredit Mirach and kill the loan transaction.

“It further attempted to discredit CEO (chief executive officer) Saransh Sharma, launching unproven allegations of forgery that have claimed to be validated by Sahara’s ‘internal investigations’. When Mirach fought back against those allegations, the group trumped up stories of a US investigation. No US federal authorities have contacted Mirach Capital Group and its directors to date."

The move by Mirach may further delay the process of raising funds for Roy’s bail since it has said that it will seek injunctions to prevent Sahara from engaging in any proposed transaction with respect to properties involved in the failed $2 billion deal, until their dispute is resolved. Sahara’s three overseas properties, The Plaza and Dream Downtown hotels in New York and Grosvenor House in London, were involved in the deal.

An email query sent to Sahara remained unanswered.

Sahara initiated legal action against Mirach in February, alleging it had forged a letter of guarantee by Bank of America, which Sahara produced in the Supreme Court.

Roy and two Sahara directors—Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey—have been in Delhi’s Tihar jail since 4 March last year after the Supreme Court sent them to judicial custody for failing to obey a court order to refund 20,000 crore owed to people who invested in securities sold by two Sahara group companies through schemes that the market regulator ruled were illegal.

Later the same month, the court set bail at 10,000 crore—half in cash and half in the form of a bank guarantee—for their release from custody. Sahara hasn’t managed to raise the money.

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.

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