NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to submit an application by September 14 seeking its approval to appoint a receiver to auction conglomerate Sahara's assets and refund investors in the troubled group's illegal bonds.
The court in June said the group needed to repay the entire $5.7 billion the court says it owes investors in illegal bonds within the next 18 months to secure the release of its jailed founder Subrata Roy.
The group has been trying to raise funds against its properties since the arrest of Roy in March 2014 after Sahara failed to comply with an earlier court order to refund money it had raised from millions of investors by selling them the bonds.
Sahara, whose assets include the landmark hotels Plaza in New York and Grosvenor House in London, has in the past year made several failed attempts to raise the money from its hotels and some other properties in India.
The Supreme Court is "contemplating" appointing a receiver to auction Sahara properties, Shekhar Naphade, an independent lawyer advising the Supreme Court on the case against Roy, told Reuters.
A final decision on this would be taken by the court after SEBI, which is seeking redress for investors in the company's bond programme, submits its application, he said.
The court is expected to take a decision on the auctioning of Sahara properties on Sept. 14.
Sahara, once one of India's most high-profile firms, said in a media statement after the court proceedings the Supreme Court had "appreciated the difficulties" that the group was currently facing in selling the properties.
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