Sahara Group top brass quizzed by SEBI

Mumbai, April 10 (IANS) Sahara Group head Subrata Roy and three top company executives were quizzed about their assets and investments by Indian markets regulator SEBI here Wednesday in connection with refunds of Rs.24,000 crore to over three crore investors.

Appearing before SEBI’s full-time member Prashant Saran following his summons March 26, Roy was accompanied by Sahara Group executives Ashok Roy Choudhary, Ravi Shankar Dubey and Vandana Bhargava.

Roy said later that he was questioned about his personal assets.

“My personal assets appear to have troubled SEBI. I was asked about them and I informed them that I have declared all my assets,” Roy said.

He added that most of the investors had been given refunds and the remaining refunds had been deposited with the SEBI.

Roy said that Sahara Group was concerned about the refund delays by SEBI.

He added that Sahara Group had deposited Rs.5,120 crore of investors’ money with SEBI and that while the group had already refunded a bulk of the money, the only outstanding liability was the amount lying with SEBI.

The meeting followed a Supreme Court order August 31, 2012, in which SEBI was directed to facilitate the refund of over Rs.24,000 crore to over three crore investors of Sahara Group within three months after verying their credentials.

In December, the apex court granted more time to Sahara Group and directed it to make an immediate payment of Rs.5,120 crore, followed by Rs.10,000 crore by the first week of January. The balance was to be paid in the first week of February.

The Supreme Court also said that SEBI could freeze accounts and attach properties if Sahara Group did not deposit the investors’ money, following which market regulator froze the accounts and attached its assets Feb 13.

According to SEBI, Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd. had raised Rs.6,380 crore and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd. had garnered Rs.19,400 crore from bond holders. SEBI also contended that there were “illegalities” committed while raising these funds.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Roy and his colleagues were asked to produce the original title deeds of all assets and investments of these two companies.

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