The Supreme Court
on Wednesday rejected Sahara chief Subrata Roy's plea to grant him more time to pay the dues to Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and warned that if Rs 552 crore was not paid by July 15, appropriate consequences would follow.
Roy’s counsel handed over a Rs 552-crore cheque to the Sebi counsel in the court but it was dated July 15. If the cheque is dishonoured, the Amby Valley project near Pune could be auctioned off.
Senior advocates Kapil Sibal
and Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Saharas, sought time till August 15 for realisation of the cheque but the bench, presided over by justice Dipak Misra, said: “We are absolutely disinclined to extend the time.” The judges asked why they should continue accommodating Sahara group of companies.
Payments were being made in installments over a long period and considering the pace, it would take a lifetime to clear the dues. “How many times are we to assemble to hear this case?” the judges asked.
The court fixed the matter for hearing on July 20 while continuing with the relief granted to Roy who has been directed to remain present in the courtroom. Sibal told the court that the group has deposited Rs 13,316 crore in the Sebi-Sahara account and the balance was around Rs 9,000 crore. He reiterated that the company was not able to get a fair price because of the court orders and market conditions. He submitted that London’s Grosvenor House Hotel had been sold to pay the dues. The amount being deposited has to be distributed to the investors in Sahara schemes.
The official liquidator appointed by the court told the judges that the road map for the auction of the Amby Valley was ready.
The property has been divided into three lots — the city itself, the surrounding villages and the land around it — and could be auctioned in one go.
The income-tax counsel also made a claim of Rs 1,500 crore against the Sahara companies
but the court stated that it was not considering tax dues in this proceeding.