Sahara chief seeks parole to sell properties

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 5 2014, 03:14am hrs
Sahara chief Subrata Roy on Thursday requested the Supreme Court to allow him parole for, at least, 40 days to sell his properties to raise R10,000 crore for his release from Tihar jail.

He also sought permission to sell its three luxury hotels Dream Downtown and The Plaza in New York and Grosvenor House in London, which is likely to yield R11,000 crore. However, Sahara will get only R5,000 crore after deduction of loan and other charges.

A bench headed by Justice TS Thakur, however, raised apprehension on Sahara selling international properties and asked the company to first dispose of its assets which are in the country. The court also asked market regulator Sebi to apprise it on Friday about the appropriate safeguards to ensure that the sale proceeds that would be realised from the sale of international properties were corret and reflect full measure of the valuation.

Sebi must be having experts who can suggest ways and means to safeguard the transactions so that there is no mischief and the transactions are at arm's length, fair and genuine. We have no idea about international transactions. We need to ensure that sales are genuine and not undervalued or diverted. Why don't you look into these issues to ensure that all possibility of leakages are plugged, the bench observed.

Meanwhile, the income tax department has sought to be made party in the case so that an outstanding dues of R4,860 crore in the two Sahara companies Sahara India Real Estate Corporation and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation can be recovered.

It said that the Sahara group has only given R5,120 crore to Sebi and rest of R16,880 crore has already been refunded by them to the depositors. The source of the refund has not been disclosed by Sahara. It may be appreciated that such refunds would constitute taxable income under Sections 69B and 69C of the Income Tax Act, thus the depatment may be made a party in the case so that the revenue's interest is protected, the application stated.

Advocate Rajiv Dhawan, appearing for Roy, however, submitted that R5,000 crore might not be raised by selling assets situated in the country and pleaded the court to allow him to sell off the hotels abroad.

The company also told the apex court that it has so far raised R3,117 crore which has been deposited with the market regulator.