Mumbai: The Securities Appellate Tribunal will begin on Saturday the final hearing on a plea by Sahara chief Subrata Roy against market regulator SEBI's attachment order on his bank accounts and other assets, along with those of two group firms and their top executives. The matter relates to a Supreme Court direction ordering refund of more than Rs 24,000 crore of investors' money raised by two Sahara group firms - Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd - through issue of bonds, wherein SEBI has been asked to facilitate the refund.
After expiry of the court-set deadline for the refund, SEBI last month issued attachment orders against the two firms and their top executives, including Subrata Roy. Roy has approached the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) against the attachment orders and the plea has been posted by the SAT for "final hearing" on Saturday.
After hearing both the sides on March 12, SAT Presiding Officer PK Malhotra had said the matter would be taken up for disposal expeditiously and posted the matter for final hearing on March 23. He had, however, refused any interim relief. "The final hearing will be in Mumbai on March 23, 2013. In view of the early hearing granted, we do not consider it necessary to pass any interim order...," Malhotra had said.
In its latest order in this long-running case, SEBI last week said the companies have not complied with the Supreme Court orders and therefore it was compelled to pass the attachment orders. During the last hearing, the Sahara counsel had sought interim relief for industrialist Subrata Roy Sahara whose bank accounts have also been ordered to be frozen. The counsel submitted that SAT should at least give an interim relief by directing to de-freeze Roy's accounts.
However, SEBI counsel had argued that there was no need for interim relief in the case. The apex court had passed its first order in this case on August 31, 2012 and SEBI was asked to facilitate the refund. In December 2012, the group 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 January first week and remainder by February first week.
Saharas have paid Rs 5,120 crore to SEBI and claim that this amount itself is more than the total outstanding liability towards the bondholders of the two companies. SEBI last month also issued public notices cautioning the general public and investors against dealing with the two Sahara group firms and their top executives due to an order for attachment of their assets.
Sahara has claimed that the actions taken by SEBI were based on "old facts" and the orders for attaching assets of individuals is incorrect on part of the market regulator.
With Additional Inputs from PTI