The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) today put off hearing on Sahara Life's petition against Irdai order to sell its business to ICICI Prudential Life, to August 10, as it wants conclude the hearing before the regulatory order comes into effect from August 21. Insurance regulator Irdai had on July 28 asked private sector life insurer ICICI Prudential Life to take over the business of beleaguered Sahara Life on or before August 21. The Irdai order though asked ICICI Prudential to take over the business of Sahara Life by July 31, a 15-day moratorium has been given to policyholders to pay renewal premia, and ICICI Prudential was given 21 days to settle the claims after which servicing of Sahara Life's policyholders would be done by ICICI Prudential. The Irdai also asked ICICI Prudential to ensure that systems are integrated within a year from the appointed date. Irdai counsel Somasekhar Sundaresan today argued that as Sahara Life had allegedly siphoned off Rs 78 crore, transfer of business to ICICI Prudential is necessary to protect policyholder's interest. Sahara counsel Gaurav Joshi countered this and said the company had not siphoned off any money and the said money was a security deposit which had been used by Sahara for legal business transaction. The Sahara counsel also claimed that the group has fulfilled all statutory requirements but is being targeted only because of the legal proceedings against the parent group in the Supreme Court. Last Monday a two-member bench of SAT, comprising justices CKG Nair and Jog Singh, had admitted the petition by Sahara Life, and ordered a status quo in the matter.
Today they heard the matter and put off the next hearing to Thursday. The tribunal said it would try to expedite the hearing on the case before Irdai order comes into effect on August 21. The embattled Sahara group had moved the SAT challenging the Irdai order directing transfer of its life insurance business to ICICI Prudential, alleging the regulator has "wrongly concluded" that the promoter was no more 'fit and proper' and a sum of Rs 78 crore was siphoned off.
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