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No Hope for Sahara: Plea to put Aamby Valley auction on hold rejected

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a plea by the Sahara Group to postpone the auction of its Aamby Valley township near Pune. The sale notice for the property is set to be advertised on 14 August. The decision has come as a huge jolt to Sahara Chief, Subrata Roy.
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The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a plea by the Sahara Group to postpone the auction of its Aamby Valley township near Pune. The sale notice for the property is set to be advertised on 14 August. The decision has come as a huge jolt to Sahara Chief, Subrata Roy.

“We are not inclined to entertain the application. If Sahara enters into an agreement with any organization and deposits all the money it owes, an order will be passed the next day,” said a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra.

Terming it beyond belief, Justice Dipak Misra said, "Your proposal is making us to make a statement that it is willing suspension of belief." The apex court further directed that the scheduled auction on August 14 will take place unless ₹ 1500 crore is deposited by Roy into the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)-Sahara refund account by September 7, upon which the court shall pass an appropriate order.

"We are not inclined to entertain the prayer of the contemnor. The prayer is hereby rejected. If any agreement is reached by the group to raise money, then appropriate orders will be passed," a bench also comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and A K Sikri said.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of Sahara contended that the auction must be postponed at least till September 16 to enable Roy arrange the debt amount. He further added that hotels in New York owned by Roy have been sold and soon money would be deposited into the SEBI-SAHARA refund account by September 7, as directed by the court.

"We are negotiating a deal of subscription agreement whereby an investor will invest 1.67 billion dollars in Aamby Valley out of which around Rs 5000 crore will given to the SEBI-Sahara refund account," he said.
Senior advocate Arvind Datar, representing the SEBI, opposed the proposal of the Sahara chief stating that the group has been coming up with objection to delay the process. He further said that ₹ 4.4 crore has already been spent in initiating the process of auction scheduled on August 14.

"It will not be appropriate, if the auction process is stalled," he said and added that according to SEBI's research, the said Mauritius-based company, named by Sahara, did not exist.

Agreeing to SEBI’s argument, the bench decided that it was not going to stall or postpone the auction process.

Besides Roy, two other directors -- Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary -- were arrested for failure of the group's two companies -- Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHICL) -- to comply with the court's August 31, 2012 order to return Rs 24,000 crore to their investors. Another company director Vandana Bhargava was not taken into custody.

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Reviewed by:
Simran Bhullar
Published on 11-Aug-17
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