In a huge setback to Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy, the Supreme Court today ordered the attachment of the company’s prime Amby Valley property in Pune, It is approximately worth Rs 39,000 crore.
A special bench headed by justice Dipak Misra said the drastic step was needed to force Sahara and Roy to expedite the payment of balance Rs 14,779 crore.
The apex court also 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.
The court has posted the matter for hearing on February 20.
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 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.
In December Roy told the court that the group was ready with a roadmap to deposit the remaining amount of Rs 12,000 crore in the SEBI-Sahara account by December 2018 to be refunded to the investors.
“A road map has been shared with SEBI and amicus curiae Shekhar Naphade”, Sibal appearing for the group told the then bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur.
Following this, the bench then continued with the interim bail and other arrangements granted to Roy.
Earlier, the top court had said it had been taken for a ride by the Sahara group through its past conduct and had directed it to submit a roadmap to pay the balance amount of Rs 12,000 crore to SEBI, while extending the parole of Roy and others till October 24 on payment of Rs 200 crore.
Read the order here.
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.