Market regulator Sebi’s woes with Sahara Group grew today as it sought to approach the Supreme Court on the business conglomerate’s non-compliance to a deadline for submission of documentary evidence of money collected from investors through issue of debentures.
Sahara Group is believed to have dispatched two truck-loads of documents to Sebi’s headquarters on the issue related to Supreme Court-directed refund of Rs 24,000 crore to an estimated three crore investors, while a third truck is said to be on its way and would reach tomorrow.
Officials at neither Sebi nor Sahara group were willing to speak specifically about the ongoing stand-off between them. However, Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) sources said Sahara did not comply with the September 10 deadline, set by the apex court, with regard to the money collected through an instrument called ‘Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures (OFCDs).
Sources in the know said a truck full of documents containing such documents reached Sebi’s headquarters here on September 10 evening after the office offers, although the company sources claimed that the regulator was intimated hours in advance about their consignment being stuck at a toll gate on way to Sebi offices.
While the consignment was not received by Sebi as it reached after office hours, another truck full of documents reached Sebi offices yesterday and a third consignment is expected to reach there tomorrow, sources said.
While the officials say that Sebi is fully equipped to handle such high volume of documents, it may still seek the apex court’s guidance on Sahara not meeting the deadline. Speaking to reporters in Delhi yesterday, Sebi Chairman U K Sinha had aid that that the regulator is fully equipped with any matter related to concern of shareholders and investors.
He was replying to reports about Sebi setting up a special ‘Sahara cell’ to deal with the case, wherein the Supreme Court has upheld the regulator’s order directing the group to refund thousands of crores collected from investors with interest.
The apex court on August 31 directed two Sahara companies to refund around Rs 24,000 crore to their investors within three months with 15 percent interest per annum. It said that if the companies—Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIREC) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation (SHIC)—fail to refund the amount then Sebi can attach properties and freeze bank accounts of the companies.
The Court has also appointed one of its retired judges Justice B N Aggarwal to oversee Sebi’s action in this regard. Reacting to the court order, the Sahara group had assured its depositors and investors that their money is safe and there will not be any delay in payment commitment to them.