The Sahara Group today 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.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir directed the Sahara Group to immediately hand over a demand draft of Rs 5,120 crore to the Securities and Exchange Board of India and said the balance amount shall be deposited with the market regulator in two instalments to be cleared by early February.

The Bench also comprising Justices S.S. Nijjar and J. Chelameswar directed that the first instalment of Rs 10,000 crore has to be paid by the first week of January and the remaining by the first week of February.

Strong objections over the court order were raised by SEBI and an association of investors, which said the directions were being given without hearing their submissions.

During the hearing, the Bench said that at the moment, it appears that the Sahara Group was not in a position to make the entire payment as directed by the apex court by the August 31 verdict.

“We have taken a slightly liberal view with the concern of depositors and not with the company,” it said.

With today’s order, the court modified the August 31 verdict which had set a three-month deadline ending November to the Sahara Group to make the refund.

The order was passed on an appeal filed by the Sahara Group against a November 29 order of the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT), which had refused to entertain their plea and asked them to approach the Supreme Court, which had directed them to refund the amount by November 30.

(This article was published on December 5, 2012)
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