Sahara companies can’t sell property

The Supreme Court on Thursday restrained Subrata Roy, chief of the Sahara group, and other directors from leaving the country, and its companies from selling of any movable or immovable property

A Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and J.S. Khehar passed this order taking note of the complaint by the Securities and Exchange Board of India that Sahara India Real Estate Corp and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation had not fully complied with the court’s October 28 order on submission of original title deeds for properties worth Rs. 20,000 crore.

Senior counsel Aryama Sundaram, appearing for Sahara, contended that a 106-acre land alone was worth Rs. 19,000 crore as per the valuation report, and said the original title deeds for this property had been submitted.

But the Bench rejected the submission. “We understand that our October 28 order has not been complied with in letter and in spirit. First comply with our order. Till then you [directors] cannot leave the country. Sahara group companies cannot sell movable or immovable properties until further orders.”

Earlier, senior counsel Arvind P. Datar, appearing for SEBI, said Sahara had given two sets of documents — one for the 106-acre land at Versova in Mumbai, which according to it was worth around Rs. 19,000 crore — and the other, for a 200-acre land at Vasai, another Mumbai suburb, which it estimated to be worth about Rs. 1,000 crore. But the actual value of the 106-acre Versova plot was only Rs. 106 crore and no developmental activity was possible on the land as it fell in the creek area. No environmental clearance was possible there.

Moreover, counsel said, a portion of the properties was in the thick of litigation. Out of 82 title deeds, the originals of 51 deeds had been lost and only certified copies were given. “Let Sahara bring a buyer for the properties, sell them and deposit the money in the court. Why should SEBI undertake the responsibility?” asked Mr. Datar.

The case pertains to the two Sahara companies raising around Rs. 24,000 crore through optionally fully convertible debentures, in violation of public issue norms, and failing to return the deposits.

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