11 September,New Delhi
The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea by Sahara Group urging it to lift attachment of its Aamby Vally project and permit it to enter into agreement with Royal Partners Investment Fund for selling it 26 per cent stakes in it for $1.6 billion.
Seeking the lifting of attachment and halt to the court ordered auction of Aamby Valley, Sahara told the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice A.K.Sikri that it has already sold its two hotels in New York.
However, the court said that if Sahara group was able to fructify deal with the Royal Partners Investment Fund and deposit the amount with the court, then it would pass appropriate orders to that effect.
On April 16, the top court had asked the Bombay High Court’s official liquidator to evaluate and auction the Aamby Valley property of the Sahara Group. In his report on its worth, the liquidator had said that its market value is Rs 37, 390 crore and the fair value is Rs 43,000 crore.
Senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for Sahara, said that in lieu of $1.6 billion, the de Royal Partners Investment Fund would get 26 per cent stake in Aamby Valley.
Declining to entertain the plea by Sahara group’s two companies – Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd and Sahara Housing Finance Corporation Ltd, the court in order said: “However, if the applicant enters into any negotiations and Royal Partners Investment Fund deposits the amount before this Court, appropriate order shall be passed on the next date of hearing.”
The court also directed Subrata Roy to present in the court on next date of hearing.
The court rejected Sahara’s plea even though Sibal told the court that since last hearing of the matter, the group has deposited about Rs 530 crore and sought time till November 11 to pay the balance of Rs 966 crore.
Urging the court to consider their plea for 60 days time to deposit Rs 966 crore for which Sahara had given the advance cheques, Sibal said that of Rs 24,000 crore that Sahara had to deposit in SEBI-Sahara Refund Account, they have already deposited Rs 16,000 crore. He said in last one year, Sahara has deposited Rs 4,000 crore.
He told the bench to contrast this with those who after taking 40-80,000 crore from the bank were seeking their restructuring.
The court, in the last hearing of the matter on July 25, had directed Sahara group to deposit Rs 1500 crore by September 11.
The two Sahara companies had raised Rs 24,000 crore through optionally fully convertible debentures in 2007-2008 and the top court by its August 31, 2012, order had directed Sahara to refund this amount with 15 per cent interest.