Mumbai: The Securities Appellate Tribunal will hear an appeal by industrialist Subrata Roy Sahara on Thursday, whose group is entangled in a long-running case with market regulator Sebi in connection with refund of money raised from public through issuance of bonds. While the details of the petition could not be immediately ascertained, the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has listed the matter for 'admission' stage hearing in its cause-list for March 7.
Two Sahara firms, Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd, were asked by the Supreme Court to refund to investors an amount totalling over Rs 24,000 crore, which they had raised through issue of bonds. After the expiry of a deadline set by the court, Sebi said that the companies have not complied with the orders and issued attachment orders against the bank accounts and other assets of the two firms and their top officials, including group chief Subrata Roy.
Besides, Sebi has 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. The Supreme 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.
In its attachment orders last month, Sebi said that neither of the two instalments was paid and therefore it was taking necessary action as per the Supreme Court orders. Subsequently, Sebi said in a public notice: "Anyone transacting with them (Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd, Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd and their three promoters and directors) would be doing so at their own peril."
The regulator said it has ordered "attachment of all movable and immovable properties, bank accounts and demat accounts of these two companies and that of its promoters and directors namely Subrata Roy Sahara, Vandana Bhargava, Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey." "Investors and general public are advised to exercise caution and take note of the said orders before transacting with the aforesaid entities/persons in any manner whatsoever," it had said in the public notice.
Sahara Group 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. In an unusual development last week, Sahara group also claimed that it fears income tax raids on it at Sebi's behest.