New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday permitted the Sahara Group to sell a part of its flagship property, Aamby Valley in Maharashtra, and deposit the proceeds into the Sebi-Sahara account by 15 May.

The sale will be subject to approval by the company judge of the Bombay high court and take place in the presence of the receiver and official liquidator. Through this, the apex court is looking to recover money against Sahara’s outstanding amount of Rs7,585 crore (without interest). The company, however, disputes this amount and claims to have dues of only Rs2,600 crore.

The court said that if Sahara is unable to raise money to pay its dues, it would proceed with the plan submitted by the Bombay HC liquidator to auction five land parcels it has identified, on 2 June. Bids for the auction process have to be submitted by 31 May. Reserve price for the auction is yet to be decided.

The plan of the official liquidator of the Bombay HC—involving five land parcels carved out of Aamby Valley, each over 1,000 acres—has been submitted to the court. A valuation report that has not been opened yet has been submitted in a sealed cover to the court as well.

Sahara can choose to sell properties from any of the land parcels carved out under the official liquidator’s plan.

The plan to sell one land parcel by Sahara was opposed by the official liquidator, who through its counsel Darius Khambata argued, “We will be surprised if they manage to sell even one parcel by July. Distributing it would create differences among parcel purchasers and result in a fresh round of litigation. Let the entire property go in one round."

Sahara, however, urged the court to allow it to sell the properties. “The whole concept will get destroyed if land is sold in parcels as they have identified. I will be able to sell without disturbing the character of the city", said Vikas Singh, Sahara’s counsel.

Shekhar Naphade, senior advocate and amicus curiae told the court that it would take a long time to implement the plan submitted by the official liquidator as it would get stuck in regulatory and statutory compliances.

Sebi moved the apex court in August 2014 to recover Rs36,000 crore from Sahara to refund investors who purchased securities from two group firms. The market regulator had asked the court to appoint a receiver who would dispose of Sahara’s domestic and offshore properties, and raise the money.

The case will be heard next on 16 May.

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