Sahara comes up with fresh proposal for Subrato Roy’s release

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Published: February 3, 2016 1:28:43 AM

The Sahara group on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it is close to selling its interests in iconic London property Grosvenor House to the State of Qatar and is also in final stages of formalising its deals with Russian lender VTB Bank to refinance its two other properties — New York’s Plaza and Dream Downtown hotels.

The Sahara group on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it is close to selling its interests in iconic London property Grosvenor House to the State of Qatar and is also in final stages of formalising its deals with Russian lender VTB Bank to refinance its two other properties — New York’s Plaza and Dream Downtown hotels.

It also sought permission for the sale of Sahara Star Hotel, Mumbai, along with its 42% shareholding in the Sahara Force Indian Formula One team and four aircraft that will in total fetch around R5,000 crore. It also sought a nod to sell its two other properties in Bangalore.

A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur sought response from Sebi on Sahara’s pleas.

The court also issued a showcause notice to the top brass of Divine Infrastructure Solutions, the purchaser of a Sahara property, as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them for breach of an undertaking given to the court. The court will also hear on March 29 Sebi’s application for the appointment of a receiver to auction off the group’s domestic and foreign properties to raise money to recover liabilities of over R36,000 crore after its chairman Subrata Roy has failed to raise even R10,000 crore to secure his release from jail.

Roy and two other directors of Sahara companies — Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary — have been in judicial custody since March 4, 2014 for the failure of SIRECL and SHICL to comply with apex court’s August 31, 2012 and December 5, 2012, order to return investors money. The bench, however, expressed its unhappiness over the manner in which things were progressing and refused to extend communication facilities to Roy for now.

The court also allowed Sebi the reimbursement of R41.44 crore incurred for sorting and digitisation of truck loads of investment receipts and other documents sent by the Sahara group.

Sahara senior counsel Kapil Sibal told the court that 80% due diligence for sale of London property to the Qatar government has been done and the company will finish the deal in the next 30-40 days and after repaying the debt on the Grosvenor House, the company will be left with surplus of R2,350 crore. He also said that the company has refinanced loans over New York Hotels with the Russian government-owned bank, which also has a branch in Delhi.

Sibal also told the court that has become difficult for his client to raise money by selling assets in the current market environment.

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