The Supreme Court hearing in the Subrata Roy Sahara-Sebi case on Monday turned out to be interesting, with the bench headed by justice T S Thakur virtually taking upon itself the auctioning of the Sahara group’s 45-acre land at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.
The piece of land has turned out to be a goldmine with two real estate firms hiking their bids. While the original buyer, Samriddhi Developers, had offered to buy the land from the Sahara group for Rs 64 crore, another buyer, Gorakhpur Real Estate Developers, suddenly approached the court wanting to pay Rs 110 crore for the same prime land.
On Monday, the competitive bidding took place with both trying to match each other’s offer and finally settling at Rs 150 crore. However, the bench didn’t close the deal as it asked both the builders to deposit 25% of the Rs 150 crore, which has been fixed as a threshold price, by July 31 in the Sebi-Sahara account to prove their bonafides so that the whole process of arranging balance money to secure release of the group’s jailed chief Subrata Roy can be taken forward. The rest of the money has to be arranged in three equal installments by October 31, the court said, while warning the developers that failure to meet the deadline would result in the forfeiture of 25% of the amount deposited by them. The bench also posted the matter for hearing on August 3.
While senior counsel Paras Kuhad appeared for Samriddhi, Gorakhpur properties was represented by counsel Kamini Jaiswal.
On the Sahara Group’s request, the judges asked Sebi to submit its bank statement of the Sebi-Sahara account and the investments made by it.
Gorakhpur Real Estate Developers had drawn the apex court’s attention to the alleged fraud played by Saharas, saying the group has misrepresented by seeking permission to sell the property situated at Gorakhpur for Rs 64 crore, a price lower than 5% of the estimated value.
The court had last month asked the 65-year-old Roy, who has been in Tihar jail since March 4, 2014, to pay Rs 36,000 crore to Sebi within 18 months and in nine installments from the date of release.