The Supreme Court has asked the liquidator of the Bombay High Court to initiate the auction of Sahara Group's real estate project Aamby Valley to recover around Rs 37,000 crore that the Subrata Roy-led group owes to investors who were duped.
On Monday, a division bench comprising Justice Dipak Mishra, Ranjan Gogoi and AK Sikri asked the liquidator to initiate the process to sell Aamby Valley after the group failed to deposit over Rs 37,000 crore to the capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
The court also asked Subrata Roy, who is the promoter of the group, to be present on April 27, which is the next date for the hearing of the case.
Besides, the division bench directed the liquidator to submit a report on the valuation of Aamby Valley which owns the township project Aamby Valley City, around 105 km from Mumbai.
“This is taking too long. Money has to come. Enough is enough. We are tired,” said the division bench, adding, “The court has shown you so much leniency”.
Earlier in January, Sahara Group sought time to deposit Rs 600 crore (around $88 million) by February 6.
The court agreed to amicus curiae Shekhar Naphade's suggestion that the liquidator be directed to conduct the sale and asked Roy and market regulator SEBI to provide details of Aamby Valley properties to the liquidator within 48 hours of receipt of the order.
"Arvind P Datar, senior counsel being assisted by Pratap Venugopal, counsel appearing for SEBI, shall provide necessary details of the said property to the liquidator, who with his team, shall make the valuation and proceed with the auction,” said the court in its ruling.
An email query sent to Sahara Group did not elicit any response while the phone numbers to the company’s media cell remained unreachable. Senior counsel Arvind Datar, who is representing the capital market regulator, was also not reachable for comments.
“Sahara said it will pay more than Rs 10,000 crore by August 2017 but the court instead asked for the auction of Aamby Valley. The market valuation of Aamby Valley is above Rs 1 lakh crore. Auctioning under distress will give the bidder undue benefit,” Sahara’s lawyer Gautam Awasthi told Business Standard.
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