Market regulator Sebi on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking the appointment of a receiver to auction off Sahara group’s domestic and offshore properties to raise money to recover liabilities of over Rs 36,000 crore, after chairman Subrata Roy has failed to raise even Rs 10,000 crore to secure his release from jail.
Seeking a direction to restrain any other court or authority from staying any attachment of the group’s properties, their sale or transfer of sale proceeds to the Sebi-Sahara account, it submitted that “the fraudulent activities of the Sahara companies, along with associated persons, constitute just and proper grounds for lifting the corporate veil and appointing an receiver for executing the SC orders”.
“All authorities, civil and judicial, in the territory of India, shall act in aid of this court and consequently, the cabinet secretary and home secretary, Government of India, chief secretaries and director generals of police of all the states, National Capital Territory and all Union territories may be directed to ensure immediate compliance of steps taken for implementation of the directions” of the Supreme Court, the application filed on Thursday stated.
According to Sebi, in spire of the SC directions giving clear timelines, the group “in utter disregard, disrespect and disobedience of the directions… deliberately and wilfully, did not comply with them and thereby committed contempt of this court”.
It further told the court that the Saharas have no “intention” of raising the money under the court’s directions and they have also failed to provide the crucial documents required for verification of the investors. The “various lacunae, contradictions, inconsistencies in the documents already submitted have been noted in the various status reports… In view of the same, nothing further survives in respect of the implementation of orders of August 31, 2012 other than attachment, sale of assets and realisation of monies”, the application filed through counsel Pratap Venugopal stated.
The market regulator also wants former SC judge justice B N Agarwal, who was earlier appointed by the apex court to oversee the implementation of the 2012 judgment, to look into the proper and effective attachment and/or sale of all the assets by the receiver, duly empowered as envisaged under the provisions of Order XL of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
Roy was sent to Tihar jail after Sahara failed to pay Rs 24,000 crore — the principal sum of two schemes declared illegal by Sebi — to the market regulator to be returned to investors.
“If this is the pace at which things are moving, when will it be all recovered? How long can we keep them in jail? Why can’t a receiver be appointed? He will sell the properties and deposit the amounts,” justice T S Thakur had observed during one of the hearings in the case.
“If they throw up their hands and appear incapable of raising funds for his release, we can appoint a receiver and set them free,” the bench had stated.