New Delhi: Market regulator SEBI Tuesday said it has put on hold the process for roping in an 'in-person' verification agency that was to help it ascertain genuineness of bondholders in the high-profile Sahara case.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had begun the process in November for selecting an IPV (In-Person Verification) Agency to help it ascertain the credentials of bondholders of two Sahara group companies, which have been asked by the Supreme Court to refund the investors' money.
SEBI has been asked to facilitate the refund, amounting to thousands of crores of rupees, after ascertaining the genuineness of about three crore investors from whom the companies had raised money through bonds.
After extending the deadline twice for submission of bids by PSU banks and KYC Registration Agencies (KRAs) for selection as an IPV Agency in this case, SEBI today said in a circular: "The Notice inviting Tender for assisting SEBI in KYC related 'In Person Verification' of bondholders (in Sahara matter) is hereby withheld until further notice."
The regulator did not give any reasons for withholding its notice inviting the tenders.
SEBI had first floated this tender on November 2 and had asked the public sector banks and KRAs to submit their applications by November 22. However, SEBI later extended the deadline for bid submission to December 21.
It again extended the deadline saying that the bids could be submitted till January 15. But after the expiry of this deadline SEBI has now decided to withhold the tender notice.
A pre-bid meeting was held by SEBI with interested parties on November 7, wherein at least four entities -- Karvy, CAMS, NSDL and CDSL -- had evinced their interest.
The selected IPV agency' will be mandated to interact "face-to-face" with all investors in the Sahara case to ascertain their genuineness.
SEBI has been mandated by the Supreme Court to facilitate refund of money with 15 percent interest to the bondholders of two Sahara group firms after ascertaining their genuineness.
In its order dated August 31, the Supreme Court had asked SEBI to ascertain the genuineness of an estimated three crore bondholders of OFCDs (Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures) of two Sahara group companies (Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd and Sahara Real Estate Corporation Ltd) and thereafter facilitate refund of the money with the interest.
After this, SEBI had decided to carry out in-person verification of these bondholders.
Later, Supreme Court passed another order, wherein Sahara group was allowed to refund the money in three instalments till first week of February.