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SC declines relief to Subrata Roy, refuses to extend deadline for payment of Rs552 cr

LiveMint logoLiveMint 05-07-2017 Priyanka Mittal

New Delhi: The Supreme court on Wednesday refused to extend the deadline for payment of a second instalment of Rs552 to be deposited by the Sahara Group to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi)-Sahara account by 15 July.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said that it was not inclined to grant any extension for the deposit and directed that the cheque be deposited into the designated account by the fixed date.

In case of failure to honour the amount under the cheque, the court said that it would begin the process of auction of its Maharashtra property, Aambey Valley, which is on hold till now.

It was further said that consequences for the Sahara chief, Subrata Roy would follow in case of dishonour of the cheque.

Kalil Sibal, counsel for Sahara prayed for extension of time as the company was facing difficulty with the sale of its properties.

“A total of Rs13,316 crore has been deposited towards due payment so far. We are trying our best and it is not our intention to not pay.”, Sibal added.

On the last hearing, on 19 July, the court had granted a 10-day extension to the Sahara Group for paying the balance amount of Rs709.82 crore out of the Rs1,500 crore the company had promised to deposit in the Sebi-Sahara account.

As a last opportunity, the court had allowed Sahara an extension of 10 working days to deposit the balance and said it would be compelled to send chairman Subrata Roy back into custody if the company failed to pay by 4 July.

The firm has so far deposited a total of Rs1,500 crore with the Sebi-Sahara refund account. The company owes the money to investors who bought securities sold by two Sahara group firms through schemes Sebi said were illegal.

Sahara’s counsel Kapil Sibal, had informed the court that the company had sold its London hotel Grosvenor House to GH Equity UK Ltd for £575 million to clear its dues.

Vinod Sharma, official liquidator of the Bombay high court, had told the court that terms and conditions for the auction of the Pune-based Aamby Valley project had been filed, and that the court’s approval for the same has been sought.

On 27 April, the court had accepted two post-dated cheques worth a total of Rs2,000 crore as an assurance of payment from Roy.

The two cheques, dated 15 June and 15 July, were for Rs1,500 crore and Rs552 crore, respectively.

On 17 April, the court had directed the auction of Aamby Valley after Sahara failed to deposit Rs5,092.64 crore with Sebi.

—Sahara has filed a defamation case in a Patna court against Mint’s editor and some reporters over the newspaper’s coverage of the company’s dispute with the Securities and Exchange Board of India. Mint is contesting the case.

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