Sahara overvalued properties: Sebi to SC

Nov 21 2013, 00:21 IST
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SummaryA bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar expressed displeasure

Challenging the valuation of Sahara's properties before the Supreme Court, market regulator Sebi on Wednesday claimed the group had overvalued them and also failed to hand over all the original title deeds of assets worth R20,000 crore as directed by the apex court last month.

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar expressed displeasure after Sebi said that its October 28 order has not been complied with as the properties for which documents were submitted were much less than R20,000 crore (around R4,700 crore).

“It is a mockery of our order if it has been complied with in this way,” the bench said, deferring the hearing till Thursday after Sahara sought adjournment on the ground of non-availability of its arguing counsel CA Sundaram. It cautioned the group that no excuses would be entertained on Thursday when the matter would be taken up for hearing.

Sebi said Sahara had given two sets of documents — one of a 106-acre land in Versova, a western suburb, which according to it is worth around R19,000 crore and the other a 200-acre land in Vasai, which it estimates to be worth about R1,000 crore.

Senior counsel Arvind Dattar, appearing for Sebi, contended that a portion of the properties were in the “thick” of litigation and out of the 82 title deeds, originals of 51 such deeds have been lost and only certified copies have been given. He further said that Sahara could have given other properties which were free from any encumbrances.

Stating that “there is no escape” from paying the money, the apex court in October had directed the Sahara Group to furnish original title deeds of its assets worth R20,000 crore within three weeks to Sebi, failing which the Sahara chief Subrata Roy and three directors will not be able to leave the country without the apex court's permission.

The title deeds were to be submitted as guarantee towards securing balance payment of R24,000 crore, which the two Sahara firms —Sahara India Real Estate Corp and Sahara Housing Investment Corp — had collected in 2008-09 from the public violating investor protection norms.

The court is hearing Sebi's contempt petitions filed against the Sahara firms for disobeying the apex court's August 31 judgment last year, asking the two firms to refund around R24,000 crore to its investors by November 30.

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