New Delhi: The Supreme court on Thursday appointed a receiver to ensure the auction of Sahara Group’s Aamby Valley property proceeds smoothly after allegations that a previous attempt to sell the property was obstructed.
The court held that no encroachment should take place on the property and the auction be conducted expeditiously.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also held that the process must be hurdle-free and laid down a timeframe for its completion— starting 1 December and ending within eight weeks. He also warned that Sahara chief Subrata Roy would be sent to jail if the process was obstructed again.
Last month, the country’s capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had approached the apex court with a contempt plea against the Sahara Group alleging obstruction in the Aamby Valley auction process.
The Aamby Valley auction process began on 14 August with the official liquidator inviting bids at a reserve price of Rs37,392 crore.
In August, while asking the Sahara Group to deposit Rs1,500 crore in a dedicated Sebi account by 7 September, the apex court had clarified that the Aamby Valley auction process would be stopped if the company furnished the payment in time.
The markets regulator moved the apex court in August 2014 to recover Rs36,000 crore from Sahara to refund investors who had purchased securities from two group firms.
Sebi had asked the court to appoint a receiver who would sell Sahara’s properties and raise the money.
The court has been recovering money from the group in instalments.
As part of the last recovery, Sahara was required to deposit Rs552 crore, of which it deposited Rs247 crore. The remaining Rs305 crore was part of the Rs1,500 crore that it was directed to pay under the last instalment in August.
On 25 July, the court directed the official liquidator of the Bombay high court to initiate the first two steps of the process to auction Aamby Valley.
This would include publication of the sale notice of the property and fulfilment of the KYC (know-your-customer) norms to be submitted by prospective bidders.