Sahara India Refund issue: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that no data related to the impact on individual investors due to non-payment by different Sahara entities is available.
“No data related to impact on individual investors due to non-payment by the above Sahara entities is available,” the Finance Minister said in a written reply to a query in the Lok Sabha on December 12, 2022.
The Finance Minister was replying to a query on whether the Sahara India Group has been delaying the payment of money to crores of its investors, which includes many poor farmers and labourers in the country. She was also asked whether the Government is formulating any plan in this regard so that poor farmers and labourers could get their money back.
Total deposits stuck in Sahara entities
According to the information shared by the Finance Minister, as many as 2.33 crore investors have deposits worth Rs 19,400.87 crore in Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Limited, (SIRECL). Also, 75 lakh investors have deposits worth Rs 6380.50 crore in Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Limited (SHICL).
The refund of money to Sahara India investors has been stuck for several years.
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Sitharaman said that as per a Supreme Court order dated 31st August 2012, SIRCEL, SHICL Promoters and Directors were asked to deposit an aggregate amount of Rs 25,781.37 crore with SEBI within three months of the date of the order. Following the SC directions, Sahara Group deposited Rs 15,552.59 crore with SEBI.
How much money has been refunded?
Later, SC directed SEBI to refund the amount to bondholders of SIRCEL and SHICL along with interest. SEBI has refunded Rs 138.07 crore to 17,526 eligible bondholders. The regulator also filed a fresh application before the Supreme Count on 21st December 2021, seeking further direction in the matter, according to the Minister.
“Hon’ble Supreme Court also directed SEBI to refund the amount to bondholders of SIRECL and SHICL along with interest on production of relevant documents evidencing payment and after counter-checking the records produced by SIRECL and SHICL. SEBI, accordingly, invited applications for refunds through various press releases and advertisements,” the Finance Minister said.
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When will investors get their money back?
The SEBI-Sahara matter is still pending with no clear-cut date of resolution in sight. Investors may get their refund only after the matter is fully resolved.
According to the Finance Minister, SEBI sought further directions from the SC in December 2021.
“Based on directions issued from time to time by the Supreme Court, advice rendered by Justice (Retd) B.N.Agarwal appointed by the Supreme Court and validation of the applications received, SEBI has made refunds to 17,526 eligible bondholders for an aggregate amount of Rs. 138.07 crore. SEBI has, further, filed an Interlocutory application dated 21.12.2021 seeking further directions from the Supreme Court in the matter,” Sitharaman said.
Meanwhile, in August 2022, the Government had informed the Parliament that over Rs 1 lakh crore of investors’ deposits were stuck in various Sahara Group entities. Of which, Rs 47,245 crore was stuck in Sahara Credit Cooperative Society Ltd and Rs 19,400.87 crore in SIRCEL. Following is the break-up of total money stuck in various Sahara entities:
“As regard Sahara India Group not being able to pay back the investors of other schemes, it is informed that the principal amount raised under RHP of Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures of SIRCEL and SHICL is Rs. 25,781.37 Crores against which only Rs.15,506.81 Crores has been deposited in SEBI-Sahara Refund Account and the SEBI has been facilitating the repayment of principal and interest to the investors who invested in Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures of SIRCEL and SHICL,” the Government had said in August.
Early this month, SEBI issued a notice to Sahara Group firm, its chief Subrata Roy and others asking them to pay Rs 6.42 crore within 15 days in a case pertaining to flouting regulatory norms.