The Supreme Court asked the official liquidator of the Bombay High Court to take over Sahara Group’s Aamby Valley property after the market regulator said the company and its chief Subrata Roy were obstructing the process.
The top court directed the Maharashtra Police chief to ensure that the property is handed over to the liquidator within 48 hours. The liquidator will work under the directions of the company judge and also take directions from Justice Oka of the Bombay High Court.
The order came in the contempt plea filed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India alleging that the group was obstructing the auction process. Senior Advocate Arvind Datar, representing SEBI, informed the apex court that the bidders backed out due to Sahara Group’s actions.
The top court warned that anyone trying to obstruct the auction will be held liable for contempt and may be sent to jail.
The court had ordered the Aamby Valley auction to recover investor money from the group. It stems from a 2012 order that asked two Sahara companies to refund Rs 24,000 crore, along with 15 percent interest, to more than two crore small investors who had invested in their optionally-fully convertible debentures between 2008 and 2011. The SEBI had ruled the fundraise illegal.
Roy was sent to jail on March 4, 2014 for failing to pay Rs 10,000 crore as ordered by the court. After Roy’s mother died in May last year, the apex court granted him parole. The interim arrangement has since continued.