SC raps Sahara on the knuckles

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 03, 2012 22:02 hrs

The Supreme Court on Monday gave another opportunity to two Sahara group companies to state by tomorrow whether they will comply with the order to refund the money collected from 30 million investors.

The order came from the bench presided over by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, after giving the two companies a severe tongue-lashing for not repaying the amounts collected in the name of OFCD (optionally fully convertible debentures).

“Your intention is very shaky. Your every step is shaky, we can't interpret our order according to your need,” a PTI report quoted the judges as saying.

  • On August 31, the Supreme Court said the OFCD schemes run by Sahara India Real Estate Corporation and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation were illegal
  • The apex court asked the two Sahara companies to refund the money they collected from investors within 90 days, with 15% interest 
  • It is estimated that Sahara group companies owe nearly Rs 24,000 cr, including interest, to investors

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) also opposed Sahara's petition and submitted that it has already filed a contempt petition against them and said that a strong action should be taken against them.

The bench, however, said it is more concerned about the common man, who has invested his money in the companies.

“If you want me to send them to jail, we would send them, but we are more concerned about the investment made by the common man,” the bench observed.

During the argument, Justice Kabir lost his cool when senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for another Sahara firm, stood up to argue the case.

“This is not the way. Even when your side is losing, you do not have the right to jump in,” Justice Kabir said asking Rohatgi to sit down.

It is estimated that the Sahara group companies owe nearly Rs 24,000 crore, including interest, to the investors. Last week, the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) had reportedly refused to accept custody of Sahara Group’s Rs 5,000 crore with its registry, citing lack of jurisdiction.

On August 31, the Supreme Court had said that the finance schemes run by two Sahara companies, Sahara India Real Estate Corporation and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation, were illegal and ordered the group to repay the money collected from investors, mostly ordinary people, with 15 per cent interest. The money was ordered to be refunded within 90 days. It had directed the companies to deposit the money with Sebi, which would then distribute to the investors.

Sebi has asked Sahara for the details of the investors. It has also threatened to freeze accounts and attach properties of the two firms.

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