Sahara India Chairman Subrata Roy on Wednesday appeared before the stock market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), in connection with the case relating to the refund of Rs. 24,000 crore to investors in two Sahara group companies.
On March 26, SEBI whole-time member Prashant Saran served summons on Mr. Roy and three directors of Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd. and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd. for personal appearance to answer questions about Mr. Roy’s personal assets and investments and also those of his group companies.
The directors, Ashok Roy Choudhury, Ravi Shankar Dubey and Vandana Bhargava, also presented themselves before SEBI.
Blames it on SEBI
Emerging from the hour-long appearance, Mr. Roy told journalists that SEBI was delaying refund to investors of the Rs.5,120 crore deposited with it by Sahara based on a Supreme Court direction. “I asked them in the last seven months why they had not taken any initiative to refund the money. They had no answer. I requested them to verify and pay back the investors. Until the verification is complete, our money is stuck,” Mr. Roy said.
He said SEBI asked him if he owned any assets other than what was already disclosed. Speaking in Hindi, Mr. Roy said: “SEBI was worried about my personal assets. I have gold worth Rs.3 crore, cash in hand of Rs.34 lakh and fixed deposits of Rs.1.59 crore. I have taken an advance of Rs. 11 crore for buying sugar mills and I own no immovable property.”
Mr. Roy insisted that Sahara had already repaid the entire liability to its investors before the Supreme Court judgment of August 31, 2012, except the Rs.5,120 crore deposited with SEBI. He denied that some of the investors were fictitious.
SEBI has been acting as per the orders of the Supreme Court which has directed the two companies to deposit over Rs. 24,000 crore with the regulator which would, in turn, identify the investors and pay them back with a 15 per cent interest.
Mr. Roy, who drove down to SEBI’s office along with a posse of bodyguards toting automatic weapons, lamented that he was not offered even a cup of tea, despite bills for all expenses regarding the investigation being raised on Sahara as per the Supreme Court’s order.