The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Thursday asked the two Sahara group entities to return money collected from millions of investors through an instrument, named, Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures (OFCD), citing violation of regulatory norms.

According to the SEBI order, Sahara Commodity Services Corp (earlier known as Sahara India Real Estate Corporation) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation (SHICL) will be required to refund the money raised from hybrid instrument OFCD to investors along with 15 per cent interest only in cash through demand draft or pay order.

The two companies and its promoter Subrata Roy Sahara, and the directors — Vandana Bhargava, Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary — jointly and severally, shall refund the money collected, the order said.

Besides, the regulator has also restrained the entities from accessing the securities market for raising funds, till the time payments are made to the satisfaction of SEBI.

Although the total amount raised by the two companies is not known, Sahara Commodity has been raising money since 2008, while SHICL began fund collection in 2009. The companies have been collecting money through different schemes from investors, which has been estimated at several millions. “The companies have kept their issues open for more than three years or two years, as the case may be, in contravention of the prescribed time limit of ten working days under the regulations,” it said. The two companies have failed to apply for and obtain listing permission from recognised stock exchanges, it said.

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