End relief to Sahara group, SEBI tells SC

Recover ₹62, 602 cr in dues or send chief Roy to jail, says plea

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has asked the Supreme Court to cut short the “long rope” given to the Sahara group and direct it to cough up ₹62,602.90 crore in dues or send its chief, Subrata Roy, to jail for contempt.

SEBI, represented by law firm M/s K.J. John & Co, has filed a contempt petition in the apex court. The companies, Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd. (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd. (SHICL), are respondents in the case along with Mr. Roy.

“Direct the Saharas to forthwith deposit the balance amount of ₹62,602.90 crore as on September 30, failing which the contemnors [Roy and the two companies] may be directed to be taken into custody as directed by the Supreme Court in a judgment on June 15, 2015,” the 59-page SEBI application said.

SEBI informed the court about the increasing liability of the companies towards investors. They have not bothered to comply with the court’s orders to deposit the dues despite the several extensions granted to them by the court over the past few years.

In fact, SEBI said Mr. Roy and the other contemnors are “enjoying their release from custody” by the Supreme Court in May 2016.

SEBI made it clear that Mr. Roy undoubtedly “controls” the Sahara group. It said the apex court had said as much in an order in May 2014. The markets regulator said the contemnors have been acting in “gross violation” of the apex court orders. Besides, they have not bothered to divulge information, or furnish explanations to the SEBI.

SEBI recounted how the Supreme Court itself, in an order in August 2012, had observed that there was a “possibility of a pre-planned attempt at the hands of the appellant companies to by-pass the regulatory and administrative authority of the applicant (SEBI)… Sahara India group has done the same”.

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