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SC allows RBI to initiate action against Sahara

Reporter's Diary

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In a major setback for Sahara, the Supreme Court has allowed the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to take action against the group for violation of orders by the court and RBI.

It may be recalled that the central bank had moved the apex court accusing Sahara of not depositing securities worth Rs 484 crore with market regulator Sebi.

According to RBI, it had passed order barring SIFCL from selling ‘directed securities’, which include government bonds, FDRs, etc. As per audited accounts, SIFCL sold securities worth Rs 524 crore, while Rs 6 crore was used for repayment of dues to depositors. However, audited accounts show that Rs 484 crore was diverted to Sahara India, which was against the RBI and SC orders.

Sahara’s counsels claim that the money was sent to Sahara India to repay depositors. The group has challenged the correctness of auditors’ findings.

However, the SC maintains that it had asked Sahara to pay Sebi and never directed it to repay investors. The apex court wondered how the group can violate a direct order by RBI.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday’s hearing the Sahara group also informed the court that its deal with Mirach is not happening now. Calling the deal a ‘mirage’, Sahara said it is exploring other options for raising funds.

According to the group, it is currently at exploratory stage and has signed term sheets have for a few. It said a European bank has agreed to extend loan of USD 1535 million and even Dutch pension fund has expressed interest in extending loan and investments.

The group is also considering sale of Aamby Valley. It is also seeking conferencing facilities for Roy in Tihar till March 31. However, the SC refused it citing that it will allow facilities when Sahara brings forth a concrete proposal. We can’t allow a comfortable arrangement with internet, staff, food etc, the SC observed, adding that Sahara parivar is large enough, and should be doing the groundwork.

The next hearing for the case is on March 13.

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