The Supreme Court on Monday granted three more months to the Sahara group to sell its offshore properties to raise the Rs 10,000 crore required to secure the release of its chief Subrata Roy on bail. The court said it was satisfied with the company’s latest proposal and would allow it to proceed further.
It also extended its earlier order allowing Mr. Roy and two other directors of the company to use the conference room in Tihar jail to hold negotiations with potential buyers of three luxury hotels — Dream Downtown, The Plaza (both in New York) and Grosvenor House (London).
Mr. Roy has been in jail since March last year after the company failed to repay over Rs 20,000 crore to its depositors. The apex court had asked him to pay Rs. 10,000 crore to get bail, of which Rs 5,000 crore should be paid in cash and the remaining in bank guarantees. Since then Sahara has made several failed attempts to raise the bail money.
Appearing for Sahara, senior advocate Kapil Sibal told a Bench headed by Justice T.S. Thakur that the company had received a line of credit worth € 900 million from Spain’s BBVA bank, which it would use to repay a loan it had taken from the Bank of China to buy the three hotels. About Rs. 5000 crore which had to be deposited as bank guarantee would be generated from HSBC. .
“Prima facie, we are satisfied that the proposal appears to be a serious effort and we allow it to pursue it further,” the court said. It also granted Sahara permission to sell 10 more properties across the country.
In an earlier hearing on March 13, the apex court had given the company a final chance to clinch the deals to raise Rs. 10,000 crore, noting that two earlier negotiations had to be aborted.