New Delhi: Amid a fierce regulatory battle with capital markets watchdog Sebi, diversified conglomerate Sahara group has seen three independent members exiting from the boards of its various companies. Those having relinquished their association with Sahara group include RBI's former Deputy Governor Amitabha Ghosh, retired Supreme Court judge S Mohan and New India Assurance Company's former Chairman AC Mukherjee.
Ghosh was on the board of group's life insurance venture Sahara Life and real estate entity Sahara Prime City, besides being on the Board of Trustees of Sahara Mutual Fund. A C Mukherjee was an independent director on the board of Sahara Life, while S Mohan was an independent member on the Board of Trustees of Sahara Mutual Fund. The resignations come at a time when Sahara group is fighting an intense battle, within and outside the courts, with market regulator Sebi over issues related to refund of over Rs 24,000 crore to an estimated three crore bondholders of its two companies - Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) and Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL).
While none of the three persons who resigned from their positions with Sahara group could be reached for their comments, sources said that all of them have cited personal or family reasons for their resignations. However, sources said exits could have happened because of Saharas' legal and public spat with Sebi. For at least one of the three resignations, Sahara group said that the person was also on the boards of other corporates, who were objecting to his association with Sahara.
When asked about the resignations, a Sahara group spokesperson said that the question should be directed to those who have resigned. About one of the three persons, Sahara said that he was on many boards of different corporates and these corporate had strong objection of his continuing with Sahara. Later this week, the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) will hear an appeal by Sahara group chief Subrata Roy and others against market regulator Sebi's order of freezing their bank accounts and other assets. The matter has been posted for hearing on April 13.
Besides, Sahara group chief Subrata Roy and three other executives of the group companies have been summoned by Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on April 10. These persons, as also the two Sahara companies have also been asked to submit details of their assets, bank accounts and tax returns by Monday, as per a Sebi order dated March 26.