New Delhi: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) cracked down on the Sahara Group and on Wednesday froze accounts of Sahara India Real Estate Corporation and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation.
Sources said that nearly 100 accounts, including that of promoter Subroto Roy, have been frozen. The crackdown comes as Sahara has failed to refund investors who put their money in a debenture scheme. The assets being attached include those related to the group's Aambey Valley resort town near Pune, other real estate assets in Delhi, Mumbai and at other places across the country, shares, mutual funds and various other investments.
The Supreme Court had earlier ordered Sahara to repay around Rs 24,000 crore to the investors. The apex court on August 31, 2012, had asked Sahara group firms to refund the money with 15 per cent interest and had asked SEBI to facilitate the refund. However, the group in December 2012, was allowed to pay the money in three instalments, including an immediate payment of Rs 5,120 crore, followed by an instalment of Rs 10,000 crore in the first week of January and remainder by the first week of February 2013.
Passing two separate orders, together running into 160 pages, against Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) and Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL), SEBI said that the two companies had raised Rs 6,380 crore and Rs 19,400 crore respectively from bondholders and "various illegalities" were committed in raising of these funds.
With regard to Subrata Roy and three other directors, namely Vandana Bhargava, Ravi Shanker Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary, SEBI ordered freezing of all bank and demat accounts of these four persons, as also attachment of all movable and immovable properties in their name with immediate effect. Sahara group was yet to comment on the orders despite repeated attempts.
In its orders passed on Wednesday, SEBI said that neither of the two instalments was paid and therefore it is constrained to take necessary action as per the Supreme Court orders. With regard to the payment of Rs 5,120 crore also, Saharas have claimed that only Rs 2,620 crore remained to be refunded to investors and it has already paid Rs 19,400 crore to the bondholders, SEBI said, adding it has been forced to take further actions.
With Additional Inputs from PTI