NEW DELHI :
The Supreme Court on Thursday summoned Sahara group chief, Subrata Roy to be personally present in court on 28 February as despite several opportunities, the Sahara Group had failed to meet its liability of ₹25,781 crore (without interest) in its entirety.
The apex court was apprised that as it stands today, Sahara had paid Rs15,160 crore. It is due to pay ₹10,621 crore to meet its total liability.
Roy, after spending almost two years in jail for non-payment of dues, has been out on parole since May 2017. He was granted parole for the first time to attend his mother’s funeral, which has been extended from time to time.
“What happened in last six months doesn’t inspire confidence" Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said. He added that the law would take its own course if the amount under an earlier 2012 order could not be furnished.
Gogoi was joined by Justice A.K. Sikri in expressing displeasure over non-compliance of court orders despite the passage of two years, “Two years back you had sought two years, we thought it was way too long a period, now those two years are over, yet payments have not been made", Sikri remarked.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh appearing for Subrata Roy told the court that it was not a case of default in payments and cited the bad real estate market as a factor that has prevented Sahara from paying up.
On 31 August 2012, the apex court had ordered the Sahara Group to deposit Rs. 24,000 crore with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) so that it could be refunded to nearly three crore investors from whom it was raised through sale of securities that Sebi held illegal. This was carried out through issuance of certain bonds by two Sahara companies- Sahara India Real Estate Corp. Ltd (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp. Ltd (SHICL).
Two years later, Sebi moved the apex court to recover Rs36,000 crore (including interest) from Sahara to refund investors who purchased securities from the two group firms. Sebi argued that this money had been raised from the public without its permission. 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.
In 2014, Subrata Roy was taken in custody after the conglomerate failed to comply with the court’s directions. In an unprecedented move, the court had set Roy’s bail at Rs10,000 crore.
In a bid to raise money, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had given its nod to the auction of Sahara’s flagship property in Maharashtra, Aamby Valley in May 2018 after it failed to deposit Rs750 crore in the Sebi-Sahara refund account in consonance with the 15 May deadline. Two months later, the auction was suspended after it failed to receive bids from prospective buyers.
The case will be heard next on 28 February