In a major relief to the Sahara Group, the Supreme Court on Wednesday gave the company time till first week of February to refund Rs 24,000 crore it had “illegally” raised from investors through optionally fully convertible debentures. However, Sebi and an investors’ group raised protests against the extension of deadline set by a different apex court Bench.
A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, directed Sahara to make an immediate payment of Rs 5,120 crore and the balance in two installments. The first part of Rs 10,000 crore has to be made by the first week of January and remaining by the first week of February. The order also directed the Group to supply the documents relating to investors within 15 days to the Sebi and said that a failure to comply with its directives could lead to attachment of company’s assets. “We have taken a slightly liberal view with the concern of depositors and not with the company,” observed the Bench.
This order, for all practical purposes, modified the August 31 verdict by another Bench, which had set a three-month deadline, ending November 30, for Sahara to make the refund. Welcoming the order, Sahara, in a statement, said that as per the statutory auditor’s certificate, outstanding liability of both the companies towards the outstanding OFCDs was Rs 2,620 crore as on November 30, 2012
“...Today, Sahara was ready to offer bank guarantee of Rs 14,780 crore so that this amount plus Rs 2,620 crore would become Rs 17,400 crore… ,” company’s lawyer Satish Kishanchandani said in an e-mail statement.