Sahara seeks modification in SC order barring Subrata Roy to go abroad

PTI Posted online: Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 0000 hrs
New Delhi : Sahara Group on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court claiming there was a mistake in its Monday's order restraining its chief Subrata Roy from leaving the country till it hands over title deeds of its properties worth Rs 20,000 crore to SEBI.

Senior advocate C A Sundaram, appearing for Sahara Group, submitted that the apex court had yesterday said if documents are not handed over to the market regulator within three weeks only then Roy would be restrained from going abroad.

Appearing before a bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and A K Sikri, he said that the order uploaded on the apex court website, however, said that Roy is restrained from going abroad till documents are supplied to SEBI which is different from what the bench had said on Monday.

After hearing Sundaram's contention, Justice Sikri said he will consult his brother judge Justice J S Khehar, who was part of the bench which passed the order yesterday, and will consider its plea.

Holding that it was playing "hide and seek" and cannot be trusted any more, the apex court had yesterday directed the Sahara Group to hand over title deeds of its properties worth Rs 20,000 crore to SEBI warning that failure to comply would mean Subrata Roy cannot leave India.

The order which was uploaded on Supreme Court website, however, said, "Till the above direction (to hand over title deeds to SEBI) is complied with to the satisfaction of SEBI, the alleged contemnors (Roy and other directors) shall not leave the country without the permission of this court." The order was yesterday passed by justices Radhakrishnan and Khehar.

Making it clear that there is no "escape" from depositing the investors' money with the market regulator, the apex court had asked Sahara to also give valuation reports of properties to SEBI which will verify worth of assets.

Roy's counsel had, earlier, pleaded that his reputation and business will be hit. The bench, however, had assured Sahara that its interests will be protected if investors money is paid back.

It had posted the case for hearing on November 20 when it would consider passing further orders on what to be done to the properties, whose title deeds will be handed over to SEBI.

Sundaram had submitted that it was not possible to pay Rs 20,000 crore in cash and the company would liquidate if it is directed to pay cash. He had given details of properties including Ambey Valley and said that title deeds of various assets would run in thousands of pages as 30,000 title deeds are there.

SEBI, however, had expressed reservation over taking title

deeds and said the group itself should sell the properties and hand over the cash to it. But the bench had asked SEBI to go through the title deeds and valuation records of the properties to be handed over to it by Sahara.

The court was hearing three contempt petitions filed by SEBI against Roy, the two firms--Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIREC) and Sahara India Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHIC)--and their directors.

It had on August 31 last year directed the Sahara Group to refund Rs 24,000 crore by November end. The deadline was further extended and the companies were directed to deposit Rs 5,120 crore immediately and Rs 10,000 crore in first week of January and the remaining amount in first week of February.

The group, which had handed over the draft of Rs 5,120 crore on December 5, 2012 has failed to pay the rest of the amount.

It had directed the two companies to refund the money to their investors within three months with 15 per cent interest per annum. It had also said SEBI can attach the properties and freeze the bank accounts of the companies if they fail to refund the amount.

The two companies, their promoter Roy and directors Vandana Bhargava, Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary were told to refund the collected money to the regulator.