‘At­tach Sa­hara’s Aamby Val­ley Pro­ject’

SC move aimed at forc­ing the group to pay .₹ 14,799 crore more to the mar­ket reg­u­la­tor; court ex­tends Subrata Roy’s pa­role

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Sa­man­waya.Rau­tray @times­group.com

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Mon­day or­dered to seize Sa­hara’s star Aamby Val­ley pro­ject in Pune to force the group to pay .₹ 14,799 crore more to the mar­ket reg­u­la­tor.

This is the bal­ance of the prin­ci­pal amount the court had or­dered the group to pay. The Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Board of In­dia’s role is to dis­trib­ute the money to in­vestors in two Sa­hara schemes that the reg­u­la­tor had found il­le­gal.

Mean­while, the court ex­tended the pa­role of Sa­hara chief Subrata Roy, even as the group paid an­other .₹ 638 crore to the reg­u­la­tor on Mon­day.

A three-judge bench, com­pris­ing Jus­tices Di­pak Misra, Ran­jan Go­goi and AK Sikri, ex­pressed their im­pa­tience with the group’s fail­ure to qu- ickly pay up the ar­rears. “You can’t keep com­ing back ev­ery two months with .₹ 600 crore. Your pro­posed pay­ments end in July 2019,” the bench said. It or­dered at­tach­ment of the prime pro­ject de­spite strong op­po­si­tion from Sa­hara lawyer Kapil Sibal. The group had so far re­sisted any at­tempt to sell ei­ther Aamby Val­ley or its ho­tels abroad.

Mon­day’s or­der ef­fec­tively re­strains the group from claim­ing own­er­ship rights over the prop­erty or dis­pos­ing of or alien­at­ing it in any man­ner.

While the court could ini­ti­ate steps to sell the prop­erty and re­cover the money, the group, too, could come up It or­dered at­tach­ment of the prime pro­ject de­spite strong op­po­si­tion from Sa­hara lawyer Kapil Sibal

with a list of other un­en­cum­bered prop­er­ties that it could of­fer to sell.

The court told the group to sub­mit a list of such un­en­cum­bered prop­er­ties in two weeks. “You have left us with no op­tion. Please give us a list (of prop­er­ties) which will give .₹ 14,000 crore. We will hear you and let you keep Aamby Val­ley,” Jus­tice Go­goi said. The group had so far re­sisted any at­tempt to sell ei­ther Aamby Val­ley or its ho­tels abroad

Court told the group to sub­mit a list of un­en­cum­bered prop­er­ties that it could of­fer to sell in two weeks

Sa­hara could also pay off the amount up­front but that seems an im­pos­si­bil­ity at this junc­ture, given that the group has strug­gled to make its pay­ments over the years and has paid only half of the prin­ci­pal amount so far. The in­ter­est com­po­nent is yet to be re­cov­ered. Sibal hinted as much when he com­plained of lack of liq­uid­ity in the real es­tate sec­tor and prayed for some breath­ing time for the group to come up with more money. Sibal said Sa­hara was will­ing to pay up the prin­ci­pal, but urged the court to hear his re­view pe­ti­tion against the Au­gust 31, 2012, or­der ask­ing to pay up about .₹ 24,000 crore as prin­ci­pal due.

The case will come up for hear­ing again on Fe­bru­ary 27

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