New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the director general of police of Maharashtra to ensure that Sahara Group’s flagship property Aamby Valley was handed over to the court-appointed official liquidator within 48 hours.

This was to make sure that the auction process did not face any kind of obstruction in the future.

While expressing displeasure at Sahara’s actions, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra held that the official liquidator supervising the auction process should take guidance from justice A.S. Oka, sitting judge of the Bombay high court as the auction process proceeded.

Arvind Datar, counsel for Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), told the court that Aamby Valley’s auction was stalled due to a lockdown created by the police at Sahara’s behest. Two prospective bidders had backed out ahead of the auction due to the law and order situation.

“If there is a lockout, who is going to bid? Police has taken custody of the property. This is part of an orchestrated attempt by the Sahara Group to stall the auction process," Datar said.

On 28 September, Sahara had written letters to the police and other authorities in Pune citing a law and order situation at Aamby Valley. Subsequently, the police took over the property obstructing the auction of the property that was to take place on 3 October.

Sebi had moved the apex court on 10 October in a contempt plea against the Sahara Group, alleging obstruction in the auction process of Aamby Valley. “Sahara has been creating obstruction one way or the other in the sale of their properties, including by way of collusive applications and lockouts to scare away auction bidders," the plea said.

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