Another mammoth 'public issue', this time by Subrata Roy's Sahara staff

Mar 29 2014, 08:39 IST
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Despite the Sahara Group’s run-in with the Sebi, its employees appear to be attempting another mammoth fund-raising exercise. Despite the Sahara Group’s run-in with the Sebi, its employees appear to be attempting another mammoth fund-raising exercise.
SummarySahara Group says staff acting on their own, to help release Subrata Roy, who is in jail.

Despite the Sahara Group’s run-in with the Securities and Exchange Board of India over whether it required permission to raise Rs 19,400 crore from the public, its employees appear to be attempting another mammoth fund-raising exercise — the management, however, says the initiative does not have its backing.

Unlike the last offer, which was an optionally fully convertible debenture, the current exercise calls for “contributions” without mentioning what type of instrument it is — technically, this may take this out of the purview of both Sebi and the Reserve Bank of India. Sebi officials said they would look into the scheme announced by the Sahara employees.

A letter written by DK Srivastav, executive director, parabanking — a copy of which is with FE — has appealed to co-workers to collect amounts of R1 lakh and above through the Saharayn E-Multi Purpose Society as soon as possible so that R5,000 crore can be deposited with the Supreme Court to secure the release of Sahara chief Subrata Roy.

Several such letters have been written by Sahara employees. The court had set Rs 10,000 crore as the amount to be posted as bail for his release, half of which has to be paid in cash with the other half in the form of a bank guarantee from a nationalised bank.

When contacted, a senior Sahara official told FE such letters had been written by Sahara employees in their personal capacity, albeit on a company letterhead. The official said the letter had since been retracted but did not produce any letter of retraction despite having said he would.

According to Sebi rules, reiterated by the regulator in the Sahara case, any raising of funds from more than 50 persons amounts to a public issue and, therefore, needs to be okayed by it.

Employees of the Sahara Group are understood to be distributing share application forms enabling membership of Saharayn E-Multi Purpose Society Limited. They are also understood to be distributing forms for contributing to the society.

The terms for contribution say that upon the expiry of three years from the date of making the contribution to the society, the members shall be entitled to receive a sum ranging from Rs 1,400 to Rs 1,600 per month, if the contribution is Rs 1 lakh, depending on “various business factors”. The form says additional monthly benefits based upon the performance, capacity utilisation or other relevant business factors

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