Skopje set to junk deal with Subrata Roy’s Sahara, invokes €3 mn guarantee

By: | Updated: November 12, 2014 9:34 AM

In a fresh setback to jailed Sahara chairman Subrata Roy, Macedonian has begun process of cancelling a deal with Sahara.

Subrata Roy has been in Tihar jail since March 4 after Sahara failed to comply with the SC order to return Rs 24,000 cr to investors. (PTI)Subrata Roy has been in Tihar jail since March 4 after Sahara failed to comply with the SC order to return Rs 24,000 cr to investors. (PTI)

In a fresh setback to jailed Sahara Group chairman Subrata Roy Sahara, the Macedonian Ministry of Agriculture has begun the process of cancelling an agreement with Sahara to reorganise the Dzumajlija agricultural complex, and activated a 3 million-euro bank guarantee that the group had given to the government in Skopje.

News portal macedoniaonline.eu quoted Sonja Trajkova, spokesperson for the ministry, as having said Saturday: “The Ministry will strictly follow the agreement that was signed. We have said so at several meetings we had with Sahara before we decided to activate the bank guarantee.”

Macedoniaonline added that the activation of Sahara’s bank guarantee was the “first step toward the cancellation of the entire agreement”.

According to the agreement finalised in July last year, Sahara was to develop a 5,500-hectare Dzumajlija farming complex near the city of Sveti Nikole. The Group had announced four separate state-of-the-art dairy farms, as well as facilities for fodder production, to be built over three years.

In response to questions sent by The Indian Express, a Sahara spokesperson said, “As far as the decision taken regarding the bank guarantee is concerned, we feel that it will have negative impact on this mega project which happens to be in the early stage of execution. We can understand why the Macedonian government took this step and we are prepared for the consequences… Macedonia is an important focus point for our offshore business and we are happy to partner with the fast developing country. We are working to arrive at amicable solutions to some specific queries of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water supply; we are confident that it will get resolved.”

Dzumajlija, a troubled farming company which, besides producing grain, also has a winery, dairy plant and a host of other facilities, was leased to Sahara in July last year for EUR 1,21,000 per month. Sahara undertook to hire 900 workers, invest EUR 60 million, and expand the cattle stock by 8,000 cows. The plans for Dzumajlija included large-scale milk and cattle feed production, and exports to Balkan, Middle Eastern and North African countries.

Subrata Roy made three trips to Macedonia in January, July and October last year, and announced big plans for the country —  including an investment of EUR 2.7 billion in businesses in the next five years, building a Macedonian ‘Las Vegas’, and bringing 20,000 cows into the country.

Roy has been in Tihar jail since March 4 after Sahara failed to comply with the Supreme Court’s order to return Rs 24,000 crore to investors.

Macedonian Govt begins cancellation

* News portal Macedoniaonline said that the activation of Sahara’s bank guarantee was the “first step toward the cancellation of the entire agreement”

* Under a pact with the agriculture ministry of the country, Sahara would reorganise the Dzumajlija agri complex

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