The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has moved the Supreme Court urging that Sahara India Group be directed to refrain from issuing “misleading” advertisement or statements that “obstruct” it from implementing the apex court’s order of August 31, 2012 for refund of more than Rs 24,029 crore raised from 33 million bond investors.
The group, including its chief Subrata Roy, have been issuing misleading advertisements (one being on April 23) in various newspapers, wrongfully claiming that the amount due to the investors by its firms, including Sahara Credit Cooperative Society Society, Saharayn Universal Multipurpose Society, Sahara Q-Shop, can be paid from the Sebi-Sahara refund account.
Sebi urged the apex court to direct the Sahara India Group of entities to restrain from issuing any advertisement or statement, in any manner whatsoever, in respect of the proceedings in the contempt petition pending before the SC.
Accusing that the Sahara group has been constantly obstructing the public authority from carrying out its statutory duties and implementing the SC directions, Sebi in its fresh application said the group “entities have by their various acts and omissions, including by issuance of such defamatory, malicious and false statements and advertisements, have misled genuine investors, when those entities continue to wilfully disobey the 2012 judgment and subsequent orders by refusing to deposit the amounts directed and ordered to be deposited in the Sebi-Sahara refund account”.
“The Sahara India group has thereby obstructed the implementation of the SC order which also amounts to contempt of the SC orders,” Sebi said.
Sebi has made its best efforts in disbursing refunds amounts in spite of the continued failure of the contemnors (Sahara group firms, Roy and some directors) in furnishing clarification, explanation and providing information relating to disputed cases, etc, as reflected from time to time in its various status reports, the affidavit stated, adding that nothing further survives in respect of the implementation of the 2012 order “other than further attachment, sale of assets and realisation of monies”.
Sahara group has been locked in a prolonged legal battle with Sebi for allegedly breaching norms in raising over Rs 24,000 crore through bonds. The group was asked by the Supreme Court to deposit the funds with Sebi to refund investors, while it maintains to have already refunded most of the bondholders.