press trust of india
NEW DELHI, 23 JUNE: Market regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India has been able to get hold of cash and investments totalling about Rs 52 crore and details of more than 450 acres of land so far through its attachment orders against Sahara group entities.
In the high-profile case involving refund of over Rs 24,000 crore to the bondholders of two Sahara companies, the Sebi had passed orders for attachment of various properties and freezing of accounts in February after the entities failed to deposit the entire money.
The cash totalling over Rs 23 crore, received from various banks pursuant to these orders, has been invested in a term deposit for now, while investments worth about Rs 28 crore in mutual funds and demat accounts have also been frozen, sources said.
After passing its attachment orders, the Sebi informed all banks, depositories, mutual funds and NBFCs, among others, about the matter and also requested the RBI to direct the chiefs of the banks to transfer the money of Sahara firms to a designated Sebi account.
The market watchdog had also approached the collectors of as many as 600 districts to request them not to permit the concerned Sahara entities and persons from any sale or transfer of properties attached by the regulator.
As a result, the district collectors and revenue officers from various parts of the country have provided the Sebi details of more than 450 acres of land belonging to Saharas, sources added.
The regulator has already asked the Supreme Court to allow it to appoint an officer of special duty and other officers to deal with the objections and claims relating to the property to be sold and for conducting the sale of the property to garner funds for refunding the investors’ money.
Saharas have so far deposited Rs 5,120 crore with the Sebi towards the refund and claims that this amount is more than sufficient to meet the outstanding liabilities towards its bondholders as the group has already paid close to Rs 20,000 crore directly to the investors.
The money was raised by Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd and Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd from about three crore investors through issuance of certain bonds.
However, these claims have been disputed by the Sebi before the Supreme Court, which is expected to resume hearing on the case next month. In the meantime, the Sebi has begun the process for refund of the money to the genuine investors after verifying their credentials.