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Supreme Court rejects Sahara group's plea on refund of Rs 24,000 crore

Press Trust of India
Jan 10, 2013 at 08:42am IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed Sahara group's plea for review of its verdict directing its two firms to refund around Rs 24,000 crore to their investors with 15 per cent interest per annum. A bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and JS Khehar, which had passed a slew of orders against the group on August 31, 2012, rejected Sahara's plea.

"All the records placed before us were meticulously examined and dealt with. Review petitions are, therefore, not entertained and, accordingly, stand dismissed," the bench said in its order. The bench said that all the contentions raised by the companies were considered by it while passing its August 2012 verdict and there is no need to review the same.

"We have carefully gone through the grounds raised in the review petitions filed by the appellants," the court said. "We also do not find any inconsistency in the views expressed by both of us. On the other hand, all the contentions, legally and factually, raised by the appellants were examined, addressed and answered on all possible angles and dimensions," the bench said.

SC rejects Sahara plea on refund of Rs 24,000 crore

The Supreme Court had on August 31, 2012 passed a slew of orders against the group.

The verdict on the review plea assumes significant as the firms have again filed a fresh application for extension of time for paying back to their investors. Although the August 31 verdict was passed by a bench of justices Radhakrishnan and Khehar but another bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir on December 5 had modified the judgement granting the group nine more weeks to pay back Rs 24,000 crore with interest to over three crore investors.

The bench headed by Justice Kabir had passed the order despite strong objections from SEBI and association of investors. SEBI had strongly opposed the order dictated by Justice Kabir and said that it was not right to modify the earlier verdict given by a different bench and submitted that Sahara's plea must be heard by a bench of justices Radhakrishnan and Khehar which had passed the verdict against the Group's two companies.

The Sahara group had yesterday again mentioned the case before a bench of Justice Kabir, who agreed to hear its plea for extension of time to refund the money to investors. In stinging observations against the companies for violating rules and regulations in raising funds from common investors, a bench of justices Radhakrishnan and Khehar had in its August 31 verdict said that such economic offences must be dealt with "iron hand".

It had said that if the companies - Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIREC) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation (SHIC) - fail to refund the amount then SEBI can attach properties and freeze bank accounts of the companies. The court had also appointed one of its retired judges Justice BN Aggarwal to oversee the action taken by SEBI against the two Sahara firms.

SIREC had collected Rs 19,400.87 crores on March 13, 2008 and SHICL had collected Rs 6,380.50 crores. But the total balance on August 31 was Rs 24,029.73 crores after premature redemption. The group might have to fork out more than Rs 38,000 crore which includes the principal amount of Rs 24,029.73 and interest of around Rs 14,000.

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