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SC asks Bombay HC to auction Sahara India’s Aamby Valley

LiveMint logoLiveMint 17-04-2017 Apurva Vishwanath

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the official liquidator of the Bombay high court to auction Aamby Valley City, Sahara India’s flagship property in Maharashtra.

The court also directed Sahara India chief Subrata Roy to personally appear before the court in the next hearing. The case will be heard next on 28 April. “Verify, make an evaluation and proceed with sale,” the court directed the official liquidator of the Bombay high court.

Justices Dipak Misra, Ranjan Gogoi and A.K. Sikri directed auctioning of Aamby Valley after Sahara failed to deposit Rs5,092.64 crore with capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).

Aamby Valley is Sahara’s flagship project consisting of luxury resorts, man-made lakes and an airport. It is spread over 4,000 hectares in Maharashtra.

According to an evaluation by Sahara in January 2012, Aamby Valley was pegged at Rs34,000 crore.

Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, who appeared for Sahara, said that the sale of its three overseas hotels—two in downtown New York and the plush Grosvenor House in London—will be finalized by 28 May.

The court also imposed costs of Rs10 crore on MG Capital Holdings, a US-based real estate company which had moved the apex court seeking to buy Sahara’s stake in the overseas hotels. The American company failed to deposit Rs750 crore as earnest money in Sebi’s dedicated Sahara account, as per the court’s previous direction.

Sebi moved the apex court in August 2012 to recover Rs36,000 crore from Sahara to refund investors who bought securities from two group firms. Sebi argued that this money had been raised from the public without its permission. Sebi had asked the court to appoint a receiver who would dispose of Sahara’s domestic and offshore properties and raise the money.

In 2014, Roy was taken into custody after the conglomerate failed to comply with the court’s directions. In an unprecedented move, the court had set Roy’s bail at Rs10,000 crore.

In May 2016, Roy and two of his associates were granted parole by the court. This was extended in the February hearing to 17 April.

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