The Supreme Court today asked SEBI to initiate the process of selling 87 "unencumbered" properties of Sahara group, whose title deeds are with the market regulator, to generate the bail money for release of its chief Subrata Roy who has been in jail for two years now.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur also asked the regulator not to sell any of the properties of the beleaguered group below 90 per cent of the circle rates.
The bench, also comprising Justices A R Dave and A K Sikri, said the regulator will have to take its prior nod before going ahead with the sale of any property if it (SEBI) receives bids even below 90 per cent of the circle rate.
"You (SEBI) evolve mechanism and start selling the properties and we are passing the order to this effect," the bench said when the counsel for SEBI alleged that nothing concrete was happening on the ground.
For the interim bail of 67-year-old Roy, the court had put conditions like depositing Rs 5,000 crore in cash and a bank guarantee of equal amount and tough terms including payment of the entire Rs 36,000 crore, which includes interest. The money will be paid back to the investors of Sahara. Roy has been in prison since March 4, 2014.
The order, asking SEBI to proceed with the sale of properties, came when senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Roy, submitted that the group was finding it increasingly difficult to sell its properties in the current market environment.
The apex court asked Sahara group and SEBI to devise a mechanism under the supervision of Justice B N Agrawal to sell properties and seek help of "experts or expert agencies" if required in the process.
It also asked both the parties to constitute a committee for this purpose. Justice Aggarwal is currently overseeing the process of return of money to investors of Sahara.
The Sahara group said it has already submitted the title deeds to SEBI and the 86 properties do not include the "foreign properties of Sahara nor Aamby Valley City nor Sahara Star hotel."