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Pay Rs. 709 crore to SEBI in 10 days, SC tells Sahara chief

If not, we will be compelled to send Subrata Roy to custody, says Bench

The Supreme Court has given embattled Sahara chief Subrata Roy time till July 4 to deposit the remaining Rs. 709.82 crore in the SEBI Sahara Refund Account, out of the Rs. 1,500 crore which was to be paid by June 15.

Extending its interim order granting bail to Mr. Roy till July 5, a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Ranjan Gogoi said on Monday: “If the balance amount is not paid by that date, we will be compelled to send the contemnor [Roy] to the custody and we are sure he shall not give rise to such an occasion.”

Market watchdog SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) had filed a case against Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIREC) and Sahara Housing Investment (SHI), along with their promoter Subrata Roy and three directors, in 2012, alleging the firms collected money from investors without listing the securities on stock exchanges.

Sibal’s plea

At the outset, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Roy, said that of the Rs. 1,500 crore, which was to be paid by June 15, the Sahara chief had deposited Rs. 790.18 crore and 10 more working days be granted to him to comply with the undertaking given by him on April 27.

Mr. Roy had told the court that he would pay Rs. 1,500 crore on or before June 15 and Rs. 552.22 crore exactly a month thereafter.

“As the contemnor has deposited Rs. 790.18 crore, we are inclined to extend the time by 10 working days so that the undertaking can be complied with,” the Bench said.

Meanwhile, the court allowed the Sahara chief to sell Grosvenor House Hotel by transferring shares of the company to the buyer firm, GH Equity UK Limited.

The Bench, however, rejected Mr. Roy’s plea that he be allowed to sell land, admeasuring 87.03 acres in certain villages of Haridwar in Uttarakhand for Rs. 109.75 crore as the amount was 62 per cent of circle rate prevalent in the area. “The said amount is 62 per cent of the circle rate and, thereby, less than 38 per cent of the circle rate. Permission is sought to sell the property at that rate. We are not inclined to grant the said permission,” the Bench said.

“We think that the said property shall be put to public auction by SEBI with the assistance of approved agency. In the bid, SEBI can mention 90 per cent of the circle rate, as some time this court had permitted at that rate,” it said. The auction be conducted by the competent authority of SEBI through approved agency on or before July 5, it said.

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