In a major setback to Subrata Sahara and his group, Supreme Court on Monday ordered attachment of its prime property worth Rs 39,000 crore at Aamby Valley in Pune in an ongoing case against the business tycoon for which he has already spent time in Tihar jail of Delhi. Sahara, who set up a multi-million dollar business conglomerate, was sent to jail by the top court in 2014 after his group failed to repay the amount to its two crore small investors as ordered by the court.
In an August 2012 verdict, the SC had ordered two of Sahara companies to refund Rs 24,000 crore, along with 15 per cent interest, to more than two crore small investors who had invested in their optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCDs) between the years 2008 and 2011. Sahara was sent to jail on March 4, 2014 for failing to pay a sum of Rs 10,000 crore. The court then ordered that Subrata Roy Sahara, whose company name adorned Indian cricket team’s jersey for years, will not be released from jail until he was able to raise half the amount in cash and the other half in form of bank securities.
The court had held that the two Sahara group companies had violated the listing provisions and collected huge amounts from the public in disobedience of law. During his stay in Jail, the SC allowed Subrata Sahara to use the conference room for negotiating sale of his properties in order to raise the bail money.
After languishing in prison for two years, Subrata Roy was allowed a four-week parole following his mother’s demise in May 2016. His parole was then extended on the condition that he regularly deposited money to add to the refund amount. However, market regulatory authority SEBI filed application for attachment of properties after appointing a receiver alleging a breach of court orders. Senior lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who is appearing for Subrata Roy and Sahara group in the case pleaded the court to give them time until July 2019 to pay back the principal amount.
“You either speed up the process of depositing money or we will have to attach your properties and put them up for auction. You have left us with no option but to pass such orders,” the bench observed in reply to Sibal’s appeal. Sahara group has to deposit Rs 14,000 crore more to repay the principal amount. The court has also asked Sahara to provide it with a list of unencumbered properties by February 27 which could be auctioned. Meanwhile, Subrata Roy’s parole has been extended until next hearing in the case.