Sahara taking "us for a ride", says Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it had been "taken for a ride" by the Sahara group by its past conduct and asked it to submit a roadmap for paying the balance amount of Rs 12,000 crore to SEBI
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it had been "taken for a ride" by the Sahara group by its past conduct and asked it to submit a roadmap for paying the balance amount of Rs 12,000 crore to SEBI, as it extended the parole of Subrata Roy and others till October 24 on payment of Rs 200 crore.
A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur observed that the apex court has been taken for a ride by Sahara which had not disclosed earlier that out of the list of 60 properties given to SEBI for selling, 47 properties were provisionally attached by Income Tax department.
"You took us for a ride by giving SEBI a list of your already attached assets. We have lost faith in you. You give us some concrete proposal--a roadmap/scheme as to how you plan to pay the balance Rs 12,000 crore and in what manner, on affidavit," a bench also comprising Justices A R Dave and A K Sikri said.
The court's observation came after senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Sahara, said that Roy should be given one and half years to pay back the remaining amount to SEBI.
"Give me one and half year's time and allow me to sell in whatever manner I have to sell. Allow me to do what I have to do and whom to sell. Don't put any conditions. I am ready to give an unconditional undertaking that I will pay back the entire amount within one and half years," Sibal said.
Sibal said it is difficult to sell the properties under the conditions and it is no good for them (SEBI) or him.
To this, the bench, asked who had stopped the Sahara chief from selling the property and said "even SEBI has said you sell whatever you want as they are interested on the money you have to give back."
"You have been in jail for over two years and we have given all the facilities you wanted to sell the properties. It is not denied that you have not paid the money," the bench said.
It asked the Sahara chief discuss the roadmap for future payments with amicus curiae Shekhar Naphade and SEBI, and said if they are convinced, the court could look into it.
During the hearing, senior advocate Arvind Dattar, appearing for market regulator SEBI, said that Sahara group was liable to pay Rs 37,000 crore with interest to SEBI, of which the principal amount payable was Rs 24,000 crore.
Till now Sahara has paid Rs 10,918 crore out of Rs 24,029 crore amount raised from investors, he said.
While extending the parole of Roy and two directors -- Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey-- till October 24, the bench directed the group to deposit Rs 200 crore by then, failing which they will be committed to jail.
During the hearing, the bench wanted to know from Sahara and SEBI about the amount so far deposited by the group and when the break-up was given in fragmentation. It asked the parties to come out with the exact figure on next date of hearing.
On September 23, the apex court has said that Sahara chief Subrata Roy and the two other directors will have to surrender to custody in a week, after it terminated the "interim arrangement" of granting parole to them.
It, however, on insistence from senior advocate Kapil Sibal fixed today for the hearing the plea seeking modification of the court's order.
Supreme Court had on September 16 extended the parole of the Sahara chief till September 23, which was granted to him in May after his mother passed away.
The parole continued later to enable him arrange money to refund his investors. Roy's parole was extended on August 3 with a condition that he has to deposit Rs 300 crore with SEBI.
The apex court on September 2 had asked the Sahara Group to come clean by disclosing its sources from where it had raised Rs 25,000 crore and paid its investors in cash, observing that it is "difficult to digest" as such a huge amount "cannot fall from the heavens."
The apex court had granted parole to Roy on May 6 for four weeks on humanitarian ground following the death of his mother Chhabi Roy in Lucknow after prolonged illness.
It had said they were free to meet prospective buyers of properties and move within the country under police escort.
Roy has been lodged in Tihar jail since March 4, 2014 on the orders of the apex court in relation with a long running dispute with market regulator SEBI.