Sahara Group thanks apex court for asset de-freeze

New Delhi, Jun 5: The Sahara Group has thanked the Supreme Court for lifting the freeze on its moveable and immovable assets so that it can raise the Rs.10,000 crore for part payment of dues, but also said it had repaid the bulk of money owed to investors. ”We are very thankful we got clearance of bank accounts and certain select properties,” Sudeep Seth, Sahara’s lawyer, said in a statement on the behalf of the group after the Supreme Court gave it the go-ahead Wednesday for sale of its assets in India.

“However, the fact remains that Sahara has already repaid 93 percent of the investors, mostly in cash, and has submitted all repayment vouchers receipts and other documents in original with SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India), which SEBI has to verify.” The group said the actual repayment that was pending amounted to just Rs.2,500 crore and that there was not even a single complaint against Sahara. The group also claimed that Rs.5,600 crore of its money was already lying with the markets watchdog. ”Of course, all the money shall ultimately come back to Sahara after verifications.”

De-freezing the assets of Sahara Wednesday, an apex court bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice A.K. Sikri also directed that the money so generated would have to be deposited in an account opened by the regulator. Soon after the judgment, senior counsel Srinivasan Ganesh asked the court to grant five days’ parole to Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy to be with his ailing mother. The court asked him to file an application and said it will pass an order after the regulator’s reply.

“Today, we are reassured of justice in the Indian judiciary. Over the last 37 years, we have always been given justice on merit. We are reassured that the Indian judiciary can never go wrong,” Sahara lawyer Seth said. ”From November 2013, all of group’s bank accounts, every inch of immovable properties and movable properties were frozen and were under an embargo of the Hon’ble Court and SEBI,” he said.

“As a result, Sahara was not in a position to get or raise even Rs.100. The question is as to why Rs.5,000 crore cash plus Rs.5,000 crore bank guarantee bail order was given without lifting any embargo,” he said, referring to Roy’s quantum of the bail amount. Seth also said the demand of Rs.20,000 crore plus interest imposed on the group to be paid to the regulator was tantamount fo Sahara being asked to pay twice for a single liability — and that, too, for one that had substantially been repaid. ”No financial institution can repay twice for one liability.”