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No contempt made out against us: Sahara to SC

Last Updated: Monday, April 29, 2013 - 21:57

New Delhi: The Sahara group and its promoter Subrata Roy Monday told the Supreme Court that no case of contempt is made out against them as they have complied with its directions on the issue of supplying documents to SEBI and has started refunding Rs 24,000 crore to its investors.

The Sahara group mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Justice K S Radhakrishnan and said they have filed affidavits relating to the contempt notice and need more time to file a response in relation to the application by the stock market regulator seeking civil arrest or detention of Roy and other directors.

The bench said it will consider its plea on May 2.

Sahara's plea was mentioned by senior advocate Ram Jethmalani and advocate Keshav Mohan.

Sahara and its promoters filed around 10 affidavits and two additional affidavits are likely to be filed soon.

The counsel said there was no case of wilful disobedience of the apex court order as the documents have been supplied to SEBI and on December 5, 2012, the issue of depositing money was also considered by the court.

During the last hearing, the apex court had pulled up the Sahara group and Roy for not refunding Rs 24,000 crore to their investors and accused them of "manipulating courts" by approaching different forums for relief.

The court had also slammed the group and its chief for not filing a response on SEBI's contempt plea against them and also issued a notice to them on the market regulator's plea to detain Roy and the two male directors --- Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey --- to get investors' money back from them.

The bench, which at one time had asked Roy's counsel to make a statement that he will not leave the country or it will pass directions, however refrained from doing so and granted one week time to him and his two companies to file their response.

The bench had also expressed its anguish when SEBI said Sahara India has filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court after the apex court had passed the order for attaching the properties of the group's two companies if they failed to deposit Rs 24,000 with the market regulator.

SEBI had contended Roy was very much part of the order passed by the apex court which had also indicted Sahara India in its order on August 31, 2012.

It had submitted Sahara group and its two companies-- Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIREC) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation (SHIC)-- have not followed the provision of Companies Act and details of investors given by them is vague.

The bench had then said SEBI was open to deposit money of untraced investors of Sahara with the Centre and that its August 31 order was clear that it was not for the market regulator to verify the addresses of untraced investors.

"If they (Sahara) don't give the documents relating to investors, then you (SEBI) can keep the money which will go to the government. They will have to give you genuine information. You don't have to search for documents," the bench had told SEBI.

SEBI had also urged the court to allow it to "take measures for arrest and detention in civil prison of Subrata Roy, Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey after giving reasonable opportunity of hearing."

SEBI had also sought a direction that their passports be deposited with the Supreme Court.

Sahara Group and SEBI are locked in legal dispute over the refunding of 24,000 crore by its two companies--SIREC and SHIC--to over three crore investors.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had dismissed its plea for more time to refund the amount.

SIREC and SHIC along Roy are facing contempt proceedings in the apex court which had on February 6 allowed SEBI to freeze accounts and seize properties of its two companies for defying court orders by not refunding the money to investors.


First Published: Monday, April 29, 2013 - 21:57
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