In fresh trouble to Sahara group, the Supreme Court today asked SEBI to freeze accounts and seize properties of its two companies for defying court orders by not refunding Rs 24,000 crore to investors.
The apex court also pulled up SEBI for not taking action against the companies, Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIREC) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation (SHIC), as per its August 31, 2012 order which had asked SEBI to attach properties and freeze bank accounts of the companies.
"What steps are you taking? You are not taking any action. The judgement tells you what to do but you are not doing it," a bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar said.
The market regulator submitted that it is taking action and issued notice to the companies and approached civil court in Bombay for freezing bank accounts.
Not satisfied by its contention, the bench said that issuing notice is not enough and that SEBI has to follow its last year\\\’s order.
"Why you gave notice and did not take action. You have to execute our order," the bench said.
The bench issued notice to the Sahara group to respond within four weeks why contempt action should not be initiated against the companies for not complying with its order
The bench also made it clear that the proceedings pending before it on contempt plea against the companies would not come in the way of SEBI taking action against the group. The apex court 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.
In stinging observations against the companies, the court had said that such economic offences must be dealt with "iron hand".
Earlier, the Group had on December 5 got nine weeks time from the Supreme Court to pay back Rs 24,000 crore with 15 per cent interest to over three crore investors in its two companies, with an immediate upfront payment of Rs.5,120 crore.
The court had ordered the Group to immediately hand over a demand draft of Rs 5,120 crore to SEBI and said the balance amount shall be deposited with the market regulator in two instalments to be cleared by early February.
SIREC had collected Rs.19,400.87 crore on March 13, 2008 and SHICL had collected Rs 6,380.50 crore. The total balance on August 31 is Rs 24,029.73 crore after premature redumption. By this calculation the group may have to pay a total of around Rs38,000 crore, which includes the principal and interest of around Rs 14,000 crore.