1,500 cr or go back to Jail: SC to Subrata Roy

d3Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy, who appeared before the Supreme Court on Thursday, offered to deposit Rs 1,500 crore by June 15 with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The apex court warned Roy that it will proceed with the auction of the Aamby Valley property and send him back to jail, if he fails to make the payment by that date.

Roy on Thursday deposited one post-dated cheque for an equivalent amount in court, and promised to pay Rs 2,000 crore by July 15 and Rs 5,000 crore by October, respectively.

The next hearing in the matter has been scheduled for June 19, when Roy has again been asked to be present.

The Supreme Court had earlier warned the Sahara Group that its Aamby Valley property will be auctioned if Roy and others failed to deposit Rs 5,092 crore with the market regulator by April 17. When Sahara did not meet this deadline, the top court directed the official liquidator of the Bombay High Court to conduct the auction of the property located near Lonavala in Maharashtra, and ordered Roy to appear before the court in person.

On Thursday, the official liquidator submitted its valuation report on Aamby Valley, pegging its fair market value at Rs 43,000 crore, and said it will take around six weeks to issue a public notice for the auction. The top court thereafter fixed the reserve price for the property at Rs 37,392 crore.

Sahara was expected to raise Rs 5,092 crore from the sale of unencumbered (debt-free) properties, details of which it had submitted to the apex court on February 28. Out of the total number properties submitted, the Supreme Court had allowed the sale of 13.

In this ongoing SEBI-Sahara case, the Supreme Court in April 2012, had ordered two Sahara companies to refund a total of Rs 24,000 crore, along with 15 percent interest, to more than two crore small investors who had invested in their optionally-fully convertible debentures (OFCDs) between 2008 and 2011.

The Sahara Group has been paying this amount in installments as directed by the court from time to time. Roy, who set up a multi-million dollar business conglomerate, was sent to jail on March 4, 2014 for failing to pay the sum of Rs 10,000 crore as was then ordered by the court.

The court then said that Roy will not be released from jail until he was able to raise half the amount in cash and the other half in the form of bank securities.

However, on account of Roy’s mother’s demise in May last year, the apex court permitted his release on parole. The interim arrangement has continued since then subject to Sahara’a payment of the court-directed amount.

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