Companies

Apex court orders seizure of Sahara’s ₹39,000-cr Aamby Valley property

Krishnadas Rajagopal NEW DELHI | Updated on January 27, 2018 Published on February 06, 2017

court

SEBI: company’s total liability is ₹36,326 cr

Unhappy with Sahara’s “road map” to repay duped investors by July 2019, the Supreme Court on Friday attached the group’s crown jewel — its Aamby Valley property in Maharashtra — as a foolproof measure to ensure recovery of the money the conglomerate owes investors.

Earlier, the Special Bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Ranjan Gogoi and AK Sikri had ordered Sahara to place on record a list of unencumbered properties, which will be put up for public auction to recover over ₹14,000 crore that the group owes as the principal sum towards its debt.

A lawyer for capital market regulator SEBI submitted that Sahara’s total liability stood at ₹36,326 crore.

At one point, Justice Gogoi asked why the court should even bother to ask Sahara for a list of other properties for public auction when the group already has Aamby Valley, which has a declared worth of ₹39,000 crore.

Enough for recovery

Tightening the screws on Sahara, the court recorded that Aamby Valley was by itself “substantial” for recovery of the amount.

Justice Gogoi said the Supreme Court had had enough of assembling every other week to collect “token amounts” from Sahara, and would now want a sure-shot way of ensuring that Sahara settled its debts.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Sahara, pleaded against the move, arguing that Aamby Valley was the group’s cash cow and the main source of revenue. “If you take away all my resources, I will not have anything to generate money. What will I tell my banks?” Sibal asked.

“This is not a question of banks. This is a question of obeying court orders,” Justice Misra replied.

Justice Misra observed that the only way to ensure compliance was to get a list of properties in Sahara’s possession that have absolutely no encumbrances. “Either you speed up your schedule of repayment or we will go ahead with the auction of your properties to settle your debts. Your 2019 roadmap is too long.”

Meanwhile, Sahara paid an instalment of a little over ₹600 crore on Monday.

Published on February 06, 2017
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