The last hope of Sahara group to get more time to refund Rs 24,000 crore to its investors was on Monday dashed in the Supreme Court which dismissed its plea and pulled it up for not complying court\\\’s earlier order to return the money by first week of February.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, which had earlier extended the deadline to two companies of the group for refunding the money from November end to first week of February, refused to grant more time.
“If you have not refunded the amount as per our order then you have no business to come to court,” an angry Chief Justice said adding that it had earlier granted time only to ensure that investors get their money back.
Two companies of Sahara group — Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIREC) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation (SHIC) — who along with Sahara chief Subrata Roy are facing contempt proceeding in the apex court before another bench which had on February 6 allowed SEBI to freeze accounts and seize properties of its two companies for defying court orders by not refunding the money to investors.
Today\\\’s hearing took an interesting turn when M.N. Krishnamani, president of Supreme Court Bar Association, told Altamas Kabir, the Chief Justice of India, who was heading the bench, that it should not hear the case and that the case should instead be sent to the bench which had directed the company to pay around Rs. 24,000 crore to Sebi.He said the “proper recourse would be for the other bench to hear it.”
A clearly upset Chief Justice told Mr Krishnamani, “What do you know about this petition? Without knowing even a word how can you say this?”
Mr Krishnamani said he wanted to caution the bench, to which the Chief Justice of India retorted, “We do not need your caution. Please wait for our orders.”
A bench headed by K S Radhakrishnan had on August 31 last year directed the two companies to refund around Rs 24,000 crore to their investors within three months with 15 per cent interest per annum for raising the amount from its investors in violation of rules and regulations.
However, the case was later on heard by a bench headed by Chief Justice Kabir which had on December 5 granted nine weeks time to the group to refund money to its three crore investors in its two companies, with an immediate upfront payment of Rs.5,120 crore.
At that time also Sebi and an association of investors urged the CJI to refer the case to Justice Radhakrishnan bench but Justice Kabir turned down their plea and passed the order keeping in mind “interest of investors”.
SIREC had collected Rs 19,400.87 crore on March 13, 2008 and SHICL had collected Rs 6,380.50 crore. But the total balance on August 31 is Rs 24,029.73 crore after premature redemption.
The group might have to fork out around Rs 38,000 crore as of now which includes the principal amount of Rs 24,029.73 crore and interest of around Rs 14,000 crore.