Sahara tells SC it cannot repay Rs 36,000 cr investor money in 18 months

New Delhi: The Sahara group on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it was not possible for it to repay, in 18 months, Rs 36,000 crore of investors' money that it had collected in 2007-08 in 18 months as was ordered by the court on 17 June even as its 54.71 acre property in Gorakhpur was the subject of an intense bidding war between two interested parties.

"There is no business house in the country or in the world which can deposit Rs 36,000 crore in 18 months time," senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for jailed Sahara chief Subrata Roy, told a bench of justice TS Thakur, justice Anil R Dave and Justice AK Sikri.

 Sahara tells SC it cannot repay Rs 36,000 cr investor money in 18 months

Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy. AFP

He said that he was getting an application ready that would be moved in a week's time pointing to the difficulty in arranging Rs 36,000 crore to return the investors money.

His admission came as justice Thakur asked him that suppose Sahara was not able to repay the entire amount.

At this, senior counsel Arvind Dattar, appearing for market regulator Sebi, told the court that Sahara had told in the past that it can and would return the investors money and it had the resources to do so.

In response, Sibal said: "If I have told the court that I can and I will pay but if I am not abler to (return) then I can be sent to jail."

The apex court had on 19 June given Sahara's two companies - SIRECL and SHFCL - 18 months to repay the investors' money which they had collected in 2007-08 through OFCDs.

Roy and two directors of the Sahara group were sent to judicial custody for its failure to comply with its 31 August 2012 and December 2012 order to return investors Rs 24,000 crore along with 15 percent interest. The total amount along with interest component now stands at Rs 36,000 crore.

Telling the court that they stood on a stronger wicket as far as their claim that they have already paid a substantial amount of investors money, Sibal told the court that the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal has accepted that two Sahara companies have already returned money of the 85 percent of the investors.

He said that though its contention was not accepted by the Income Tax authorities but the same has found favour with the appellate tribunal.

As the court asked him that he had submitted all the documents to Sebi and which were the documents he was referring to, Sibal said that these were PAN card numbers showing TDS.

Bidding war for plot on sale

In the meanwhile, the court asked city-based Gorakhpur Real Estate Developers to deposit a bank draft of Rs 11 crores - 10 percent of Rs 110 crore that it has offered to pay for buying 54.71 acres of Sahara land in the eastern Uttar Pradesh town. The court said that the draft should be favouring secretary general, Supreme Court.

This is nearly double of Rs 65 crore that Sahara has told the court it was getting for the same land from another developer, Samridhi Developers. The emergence of the new bidder has kicked off a bidding war for the plot.

According to a report in The Times of India, Samridhi's was ready with a Rs 12 crore bank draft and Rs 50 crore bank cheque. However, Gorakhpur Real Estate Developers contented that the market price of the land on sale was Rs 190 crore and it was ready to pay Rs 110 crore, the report said.

Sahara objected to the offer saying that it would come in the way of the release of Subrata Roy from jail and it was about to get Rs 65 crore from the first buyer. It also alleged that the bonafides of Samridhi was not clear. The court then asked the new buyer to deposit Rs 65 crore immediately and the remaining Rs 45 crore in three to four months.

As counsel appearing for the new buyer wanted time to take instructions, the court gave him time until Monday with a rider that he would deposit a demand draft of Rs 11 crores by Wednesday to establish his bonafide.

With inputs from IANS

Updated Date: Jul 08, 2015 08:29:47 IST