We will auction your (Sahara) Aamby Valley project if the money is not deposited within the stipulated time period as promised”, SC Bench to Sahara Group.
The Supreme Court today issued a fresh and last warning to the Sahara Group that it would auction its prime property worth Rs 39,000 crore at Aamby Valley in Pune if Rs 5092.6 crore is not paid by the company by April 17 as promised.
It was on February 6 that the Supreme Court first ordered attachment of the company’s prime asset
A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra also directed the international real estate firm, which had shown willingness to buy Sahara's stake in New York- based Plaza Hotel for USD 550 million, to deposit Rs 750 crore in the SEBI-Sahara refund account instead of the apex court registry to show its bonafide.
“By virtue of the order passed today, the earlier order stands modified to the extent that the amount of Rs.750 crores (Rupees seven hundred fifty crores only) shall be deposited in the SEBI Sahara Refund Account, but the time fixed in the previous order i.e. 17th April, 2017, remains undisturbed”, the order said.
“We will auction your (Sahara) Aamby Valley project if the money is not deposited within the stipulated time period as promised, the bench told Sahara group.
The top court had earlier directed attachment of Sahara Group's prime property for realisation of money to be paid to its investors. The apex court had also asked Sahara Group to provide it within two weeks the list of unencumbered properties which can be put for public auction to realise the remaining over Rs 14,000 crore of the principal amount of around Rs 24,000 crore that has to be deposited in the SEBI-Sahara account for refunding money to the investors.
The apex court had also earlier asked Sahara to provide a list of unencumbered properties by February 20 hinting that they also could be put to public auction
Sahara has so far paid a little over Rs 11,000 crore and had sought time till July 2019 to deposit the balance of Rs 14,779 crore with the SEBI. It deposited a little over Rs 600 crore with SEBI on Monday.
However, the court said that the repayment roadmap extending till July 2019 is too long and it wanted to auction the properties to realise the dues.
On January 12 the Supreme Court took a serious note of Roy’s plea for extention of time to deposit Rs 600 crore saying he would have to go to jail in case of a default and did not pay up by February 6, that is today.
“This court has given so much indulgence to you. This is the worst. If you don't pay the amount, you will have to go back to jail, the newly constituted bench, comprising Justices Dipak Misra, Ranjan Gogoi and A K Sikri, had said.
Perusing the records to scrutinise repeated extension of Roy's parole, the bench said too much indulgence has been given to him, more than any other litigant by the court.
“Parole is granted for a specific purpose and limited period. You were given parole for performing the last rites of your mother. But you have been out for nine months. The specific purpose is over and this is continuing, it had said.
The bench had asked SEBI counsel Arvind Dattar what would happen if the Sahara chief does not pay the amount to the market regulator. Dattar said there were 87 plus properties which would be attached, a receiver could be appointed and the properties sold through auction, if the company fails to pay the amount.
The bench said if he defaults to pay the amount then he will go back to jail, then properties will be attached, receiver appointed and sold through auction. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Sahara, said if this is the court's mood, then they may not be heard. It is the most unfortunate statement which has come. If this is the mood of court then we need not be heard, he said.
To this, the bench asked can't the court say what are the options available before it. We are here to hear you Mr Sibal. Has not the Supreme Court given so much indulgence to you than any other single litigant? Now you are saying we are not hearing you. This is not done, Justice Gogoi said.
Read the Order here.