Subrata Roy, chairman of Sahara Group, gestures as he speaks during an interview in Lucknow, India (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Sahara Life Says Business Wrongfully Given To ICICI Prudential  

Subrata Roy’s Sahara India Life Insurance Company Ltd. on Sunday said its business was “wrongfully” given to ICICI Prudential Life by the insurance regulator.

Sahara Life will challenge the order by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority directing takeover of policyholders’ liabilities and assets of Sahara Life by ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Ltd., it said in an emailed statement.

The company was not granted any hearing against the move, the insurance arm of the Roy-led Sahara Group said in an emailed statement. “Sahara Life will pursue its remedy against IRDAI in the courts,” the statement said.

Roy is on a parole since May last year after spending two years in prison for not complying with the Supreme Court’s orders. The apex court had directed the Sahara Group to refund about Rs 24,000 crore to over two crore investors. Financially stretched Sahara Group has been looking to sell assets to deposit funds sought by the apex court.

The IRDAI took over the management of Sahara Group insurer in June saying it was “acting in a manner” prejudicial to the interest of subscribers. The company, however, has been contesting the decision.

Sahara Life’s assets are more than its liability and there’s not a single complaint of nonpayment by any policyholder.
Sahara Life’s Emailed Statement

"Sahara Life is doing business since 2004 and for the last seven years running continuously in profit and has been in absolute and strict compliance of all regulatory norms and directions issued by IRDAI,” the group said.

It is unfortunate that “IRDAI has handed over Sahara Life’s business to another insurance company ICICI Prudential”, it said.

ICICI Prudential Life said on Friday the IRDAI had approved takeover of Sahara Life’s portfolio. “This is not a merger between the two companies and is only a transfer of the life insurance portfolio, ” the company said in an exchange filing.

Sahara Life has a policyholder liability of Rs 900 crore, and the portfolio being transferred is less than 1 percent of its balance sheet, ICICI Prudential said.

(With inputs from PTI)