SC seeks SEBI’s response on Subrata Roy’s plea to go abroad

New Delhi, Jan 2: The Supreme Court Thursday asked the market regulator SEBI to file its response to Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy’s plea seeking the court’s nod for going abroad to attend his business engagements.

A bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar asked SEBI counsel Pratap Venugopal to respond to Roy’s plea that he be permitted to go abroad as he had pressing business engagements and had to meet eminent personalities in the US and Britain.

Appearing for Roy, senior counsel C.A. Sundaram told the court that his client had a lot of business commitments and was scheduled to meet important people. He said Roy was ready to give an undertaking that he would return to India within three days of the court asking him to do so.

The court also asked Venugopal to tell it whether the securities market regulator has received the unencumbered title deeds to cover Rs.20,000 crore that Sahara Group’s two companies – the Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd. (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd. (SHICL) – have to return to investors.

The court will hear SEBI’s response Jan 9 when the market regulator’s contempt plea against SIRECL and SHICL is listed for further hearing.

The court Nov 21, 2013 had restrained Roy and two directors of SIRECL and SHICL for their failure to pledge unencumbered title deeds of the group’s assets to cover the money that has to be returned to investors. Sahara companies had deposited a pay order of Rs.5,120 crore in compliance of the apex court’s Dec 5, 2012 order.

The apex court by its Oct 28, 2013 order, had directed the SIRECL and SHICL to deposit unencumbered title deeds of Group’s assets of Rs.20,000 crore as a guarantee to return investors’ Rs.24,000 crore, which were collected through Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures (OFCD).

The apex court Aug 31, 2012 had directed the Sahara companies to deposit Rs.17,400 crore with 15 percent interest with the SEBI within three months, which the company has failed to do so far.

The court by its Nov 21, 2013 order had restrained the Sahara Group not to sell or alienate any of its properties till its Oct 28 order is complied with. The court passed this order noting: “We are prima facie satisfied that our order dated Oct 28, 2013 has not been complied with in letter and spirit.”

IANS