The Supreme Court, on March 21, 2017, warned the Sahara Group that it will auction its prime property worth Rs 39,000 crores at Aamby Valley in Pune, if Rs 5,092.6 crores is not paid by the company by April 17, as promised. A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra, also directed the international real estate firm, which had shown willingness to buy Sahara’s stake in the New York-based Plaza Hotel for USD 550 million, to deposit Rs 750 crores in the SEBI-Sahara refund account, instead of the apex court registry to show its bonafide.
“We will auction your (Sahara) Aamby Valley project, if the money is not deposited within the stipulated time period as promised,” the bench, also comprising justices Ranjan Gogoi and AK Sikri, observed. The top court had earlier directed attachment of the Sahara Group’s prime property, for realisation of money to be paid to its investors. The apex court had also asked Sahara to provide within two weeks, the list of unencumbered properties, which can be put for public auction, to realise the remaining amount of over Rs 14,000 crores of the principal amount of around Rs 24,000 crores that has to be deposited in the SEBI-Sahara account, for refunding money to the investors.
The court had, on November 28, 2016, asked Roy to deposit Rs 600 crores more by February 6, 2017, in the SEBI-Sahara refund account to remain out of jail and warned that failure to do so would result in his return to prison. It had on May 6, 2016, granted a four-week parole to Roy to attend the funeral of his mother. This parole has been extended by the court ever since. Roy was sent to Tihar jail on March 4, 2014.
Besides Roy, two other directors – Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary – were arrested for the failure of the group’s two companies – Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHICL) – to comply with the court’s August 31, 2012 order, to return Rs 24,000 crores to their investors. However, director Vandana Bhargava was not taken into custody.