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SC Urges SEBI to place Safeguards Verifying Sahara Sale Transactions; Income Tax Department Approaches SC demanding 4,800-crore from Sahara

Apoorva Mandhani
3 July 2014 2:15 PM GMT
SC Urges SEBI to place Safeguards Verifying Sahara Sale Transactions; Income Tax Department Approaches SC demanding 4,800-crore from Sahara
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The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice Anil Dave and Justice A.K. Sikri today said that the court needs to monitor the sale transactions being undertaken by Sahara to prevent any mischief. The judges added that since they have no expertise in the field, experts should be employed by SEBI in order to scrutinize all dealings. SEBI was also urged to put safeguards into place to maintain transparency in the sale proceeds.

Sahara seems to be in trouble again, with the Income Tax Department reportedly approaching the Supreme Court with a tax demand of Rs 4,800-crore for the last 3 years.

This comes after Sahara Chief Subrata Roy has sought an interim bail of 40 days. He seeks to finalize the sale of the three properties situated abroad, in an attempt raise the entire amount required for his bail. In March 2014, an order was passed by the apex court for their granting interim bail, on the condition that they deposit Rs.10, 000-crores. Out of this a sum of Rs.5,000-crores had to be deposited in cash before this Court while the balance amount of Rs.5000-crores had to be secured by a bank guarantee of a nationalized bank, furnished in favor of the SEBI. Read the Live Law story here.

It was reported by Livelaw earlier that according to an affidavit filed by the Sahara counsel, Keshav Mohan in the Supreme Court, the Sahara Group has already deposited Rs. 3,117-crore with SEBI, ensuring the Court about its efforts to raise the remaining sum, to furnish the Rs. 5,000-crore bail bond for the release of its chief, Subrata Roy.

The group also presented bank communication relating to transfer of the monies to the SEBI-Sahara account as an evidence of actual payments being made by Sahara.

Last month, the new bench comprising of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice A.K. Sikri modified the March 4thorder restricting sale of property, to raise the amount for his interim bail. While still continuing with Subrata Roy’s custody, the court had on June 4 referred the case to a three-judge bench and appointed senior advocate Fali S. Nariman as the amicus curiae.  However, Nariman had turned down the proposal.

Pursuant to this order, Sahara group had sold approximately 4.21-lakh square metres of land belonging to its residential scheme ‘Sahara City’ in Ahmedabad to city-based developers for a sum of Rs 464-crore.

The new bench has adjourned the hearing till Friday afternoon, so that SEBI could respond to the new proposals laid down by Sahara, in order to raise the amount required to obtaining bail. Sebi counsel Pratap Venugopal submitted before the court that senior counsel Arvind Datar will present the Sebi view on the transactions.

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