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Supreme Court Refuses To Grant Extra Time To Sahara Chief Subrata Roy To Deposit Funds

"Sahara Group must deposit the money on time otherwise Aamby Valley will be auctioned."

06/04/2017 6:42 PM IST | Updated 06/04/2017 6:53 PM IST
Danish Siddiqui / Reuters

NEW DELHI -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday said if the Sahara Group fails to deposit ₹5092.6 crore in SEBI-Sahara refund account by 17 April in pursuance of its order, it will be "compelled" to auction its property valued at ₹39,000 crore at Aamby Valley in Pune.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra told the group that no extension of time would be granted for depositing the amount as it had assured the court that it would pay the money by 17 April.

"No extension of time shall be granted. Sahara Group must deposit the money on time otherwise Aamby Valley will be auctioned," the bench told the counsel, who was representing the group.

The observation came when the lawyer mentioned an interim plea seeking extension of time for depositing the money in the SEBI-Sahara refund account.

The apex court also observed that it had clearly told the group that a "substantial amount" must come in the refund account.

"Whatever you do, we had told you that a substantial amount must come, otherwise we will be compelled to put up Aamby Valley for auction," the bench said, noting, "What matters is the money coming in the kitty."

When the counsel told the bench to take up the application for hearing, the court said the apex court registry would list it on the date already fixed for hearing the matter.

On 28 February, the apex court had said that "in case, the substantial amount is deposited this court may think of extending the time, otherwise appropriate direction shall be issued".

The court had last month directed an international real estate firm, which had shown willingness to buy Sahara's stake in New York-based Plaza Hotel for USD 550 million, to deposit ₹750 crore in the SEBI-Sahara refund account instead of the apex court registry to show its bonafide.

The top court had earlier directed attachment of Sahara Group's prime property for realisation of money to be paid to its investors.

It had also asked the group to provide it within two weeks the list of "unencumbered properties" which can be put for public auction to realise the remaining over ₹14,000 crore of the principal amount of around ₹24,000 crore that has to be deposited in the SEBI-Sahara account for refunding the investors.

The court had on 28 November last year asked Sahara chief Subrata Roy to deposit ₹600 crore more by 6 February in the refund account to remain out of jail and warned that failure to do so would result in his return to prison.

It had on 6 May, 2016 granted a four-week parole to Roy to attend the funeral of his mother. His parole has been extended by the court ever since. Roy was sent to Tihar jail on 4 March, 2014.

Besides Roy, two other directors -- Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary -- were arrested for failure of the group's two companies -- Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHICL) -- to comply with the court's 31 August, 2012 order to return ₹24,000 crore to their investors.

However, director Vandana Bhargava was not taken into custody.

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