The auction process for the Sahara group’s prime Aamby Valley properties would continue as it has failed to deposit Rs 750 crore in the SEBI-Sahara refund account, the Supreme Court held today. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ranjan Gogoi and A K Sikri was informed by the counsel representing the official liquidator that the group has not deposited Rs 750 crore in the refund account. Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing Sahara chief Subrata Roy and the group, also told the court that they have failed to sell a parcel of the Aamby Valley for depositing the money by May 15.
“As far as the auction of the property is concerned, the same shall continue as the contemner has failed to deposit Rs 750 crore as suggested by him earlier,” the bench said and posted the matter for further hearing on July 12. The top court had on April 19 allowed the Sahara Group to choose any parcel of its properties in the Aamby Valley city project in Maharashtra, sell them by May 15 and deposit the proceeds with the SEBI-Sahara refund account.
The bench had initially asked the group to deposit Rs 750 crore by May 15 by selling the properties from one parcel of the Aamby Valley. However later, it had said it would not specify the amount in its order. It had said if the Sahara Group failed to sell its property by May 15, the Bombay High Court’s official liquidator will proceed with the proposed auctioning process to sell them. The court had specifically told the Sahara Group that they had time till today to sell the properties by themselves or these would be auctioned.
The official liquidator, in its report, had said it had commenced the procedure for auctioning the Aamby Valley property for which bids will be invited from May 21 to 31 and the auction will begin from June 2. On November 23 last year, the apex court had granted liberty to two Bombay High Court judges to adopt procedures to facilitate the auctioning of the properties and directed the liquidator not to allow any obstruction in the process. Roy, who has spent almost two years in jail, has been on parole since May 6 last year.
The parole was first granted to enable him attend the funeral of his mother. It has been extended since then. Besides Roy, two other directors — Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary — were arrested for failure of the group’s two companies — Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHICL) — to comply with the court’s August 31, 2012 order to return Rs 24,000 crore to their investors.