New Delhi, Feb 14: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Thursday asked banks to freeze the assets and bank accounts of two Sahara group companies, saying they had failed to heed a Supreme Court order to repay investors in a case involving more than Rs 24,000 crore.
The two firms involved in the matter are Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIREC) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation (SHIC).SEBI has also asked the group to deposit SHIC's cash and bank balance, worth Rs 309.19 crore, and SIREC's, worth Rs 1,655 crore, with it.
The market regulator has also ordered a freeze on all bank accounts and properties in the name of the Sahara Group founder, Subrata Roy, and three other directors of the two firms, Sahara Housing Investment Corporation and Sahara India Real Estate Corporation, according to two separate orders posted on the regulator's website.
The orders were posted late on Wednesday by Sebi.
Soon after Sebi order, Sahara issued a statement saying the directives were based on old facts and had not taken into account redemptions it has made since January 2012. The company further added that its total liability is not going to exceed the Rs 5,120 crore it had deposited with the regulator.
"Today's order of Sebi for attachment of the assets is based on old facts and details of assets as of January 2012. Since, then (the) facts have changed in view of redemptions made by Sahara from time to time," it said.
The Supreme Court had earlier directed the two Sahara firms, which had raised money from 29.6 million investors through optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCDs), to refund around Rs 24,000 crore with 15 per cent annualised interest to the investors. The first instalment of Rs 10,000 crore had to be paid by the first week of January and the remaining by the first week of February.
In response, Sahara has issued the following statement:
As per Sahara, the total liability is not likely to exceed Rs. 5,120 crore, which has already been deposited with SEBI. As regards the instalments to be deposited with SEBI as per the order of the Supreme Court, Sahara has filed interim application before the Supreme Court interalia praying that Sahara be permitted to furnish security through a credible financial institution instead and in place of the payment of the balance instalments, since Sahara has already redeemed significant number of OFCD Holders and any further payments to SEBI would amount to double payment. The said interim application is pending and is likely to come up next week.
Further, today's order of SEBI for attachment of the assets is based on old facts and details of assets as of January, 2012. Since, then facts have changed in view of redemptions made by Sahara from time to time. This fact of redemption was known to SEBI. Hence, today's order does not take into account the changed facts and circumstances.
As per the order of the Supreme Court, the liability to refund the money is of SIRECL and SHICL. Hence, attachment, of assets of the individuals by SEBI is incorrect. Whereas not only company has paid to SEBI enough amount which is much higher than outstanding liabilities of two companies, the fact also remains in the whole affair Sahara is genuinely concerned for investors.