Responding to the summons from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi),Subrata Roy,chief of Sahara Group said he had less than Rs 4 crore as personal assets against a demand from the regulator to cough up Rs 24,000 crore as refund to investors.
Roy appeared before Sebi whole time member,Prashant Saran,who had issued the summons,along with his three senior executives Ashok Roy Choudhary,Ravi Shankar Dubey and Vandana Bhargava. He later told reporters that Sebi asked him if he has any asset other than what has been disclosed and whether he wished to add anything.
“I replied back saying the assets which I declared are the only ones I have”,Roy said.
According to his declaration he and his wife hold gold ornaments and stones worth Rs 3 crore,cash and bank balance of Rs 34 lakh and fixed deposits of Rs 1.59 crore.
The Sebi summons is in response to a Supreme Court order asking Roy to refund the sum raised by his two companies through the issue of bonds that were declared as illegal.
In a related development the economic offences wing of Mumbai police have begun an inquiry against the group on a complaint that the latter was intimidating investors as it was facing a refund case involving Rs 24,000 crore payment to over three crore investors.
The company in a press statement later said that Subrata Roy’s personal assets are around Rs 3 crore. Roy further told that for buying sugar mill at Badauli he had taken an advance of Rs 11 crore and has no immovable property.
Sebi had issued summons to Subrata Roy and the three directors on March 26 in order to ascertain their personal assets,investments and the assets of companies so that it can move ahead with the sale of immovable assets to realise the money to be refunded to the investors. It has also ordered freezing of their assets and imposed a ban on sale of their immovable properties.
While the group was asked to produce original title deeds of all assets and investments of the two firms,Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHICL),Roy claimed all those documents have been submitted. The two Sahara firms,SIRECL and SHCIL,have been asked by the Supreme Court to refund over Rs 24,000 crore to their bondholders within three months.
In December,however,the Court extended the time and asked Sahara to make an immediate payment of Rs 5,120 crore,followed by Rs 10,000 crore by the first week of January and the remainder by first week of February.
The Group has meanwhile moved the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) for unfreezing the assets of Roy and his three directors and the case is scheduled for hearing on April 13.
‘We are gravely concerned about the delay in refunding our investors’
Maintaining that Sahara firms have paid back most of its investors,Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy said he is equally concerned about investor protection. Soon after his meeting with Sebi,Roy spoke to Surabhi on the impact of the proceedings on the groups other businesses. Excerpts:
Can you tell us about your meeting with Sebi? We had already sent our affidavit on assets and investments but were called to answer some more questions on whether we had anything else to disclose as well as our immovable property. We have no immovable assets but said we are gravely concerned about the delay in repayment to our investors by Sebi.
What is your stand on refunds to your investors?
We have already repaid much of what we had been asked to refund. We have now requested Sebi to refund the remaining Rs 5,120 crore to investors and carry out their verification as was ordered by the Supreme Court.
Have the recent proceedings impacted your other businesses?
It has had an effect. We will collect data on tangible losses to our other firms and will take it up with the Registrar of Companies and Sebi.