The curious case of 5,984 Kalawatis in Sahara list

Very common name... many people with same name possible,claims Sahara.

Written by Appu Esthose Suresh | New Delhi | Published: May 1, 2013 3:22:09 am

By May 2,Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL) has to prove the “genuineness” of all its investors to the Supreme Court. It has a difficult task on its hands: the name ‘Kalawati’ figures 5,984 times on that list,same names appear against different locations,and geography takes a giant leap with ‘Jaipur Nagpur Maharashtra’ and ‘187 Aurangabad Lucknow UP’ mentioned as addresses.

SIRECL had given the list of investors to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in a CD protected with high-level security encryption,preventing the market watchdog from doing any analysis or sorting of data. The Indian

Express has accessed that list,running into a voluminous 1.12 lakh pages,containing the names,addresses and investments of 66,12,836 investors.

Kalawati,a name made famous by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi during his July 2008 speech in Parliament,springs up consistently — at least 55 times against one address. The namesakes of the Vidarbha farmer’s widow whose plight Rahul lamented hold a total investment of approximately Rs 5.5 crore.

When contacted,Sahara Group spokesperson Abhijit Sarkar said: “It may be possible to have many people with the same name as it is a very common name… Their addresses,parentage,investment and also the day of investments would be different,which clearly indicates that though of the same name,they are different investors.”

In fact,the name had caught the eye of Supreme Court judge J S Khehar too while throwing out the list of investors submitted by SIRECL in August 2012. In the order,Khehar had said “the impression emerging from the single entry extracted (Kalawati) is that the same seems totally unrealistic,fictitious,concocted and made-up”,adding that the court was not convinced enough to go beyond the first page.

In the same order,the court had asked the Lucknow-based conglomerate to refund the Rs 19,000 crore it had raised from its so-called investors,under SEBI’s supervision. The Supreme Court later asked SIRECL to prove that its investors were genuine,and appointed former Supreme Court judge B N Aggarwal to monitor the list.

The Indian Express was the first to report that SEBI had received only 69 responses to the correspondence it had sent to a batch of 20,000 SIRECL investors on the basis of details provided in the CD by Sahara.

The controversy can be traced to the April 25,2008,issue by SIRECL and Sahara India Housing Corporation Ltd of Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures (OFCD). SEBI says OFCD falls under its jurisdiction and the two firms had marketed it without their approval.

Sahara,however,claims that the OFCD was not marketed through public but through “private placement”,to “friends,associates,group companies,workers/ employees and other individuals,who are associated or affiliated or connected in any manner with Sahara India Group of Companies”.

The Himachal Pradesh and Allahabad High Courts and SEBI had referred the matter to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for investigating aspects of money laundering. SEBI sources said the agency is yet to initiate any inquiry. Sameer Bajaj,the Mumbai zonal chief of ED,where SEBI forwarded the case,was not available for comment.

A look at some of the Kalawatis who qualify as Sahara ‘friend’,‘associate’,‘group employee’ or ‘others affiliated with it’:

* ‘Kalawati’ first appears at Serial No. 90 in the list of those who subscribed to the SIRECL OFCD. An investment of Rs 15,000 is credited against a ‘Kalawati Singh,Rajapur Dillipur Bhojpur BR’. The same entry then appears 17 more times on the list.

* The Kalawati entry on the basis of which Sahara’s investor list was thrown out by the SC appears at Serial No. 6603675,with the address ‘Uchahara,S K Nagar,UP’. Interestingly,another entry at Serial No. 1968216 in the name of ‘Mairunnisha’ bears the same address.

* ‘Kalawati’ figures several times against the address ‘Civil Lines Buxar BR’. Not only that,there are 150 other entries from this address with all possible names.

* A ‘Kalawati Devi,W/O Dharam Bhagwi Ch. Dadri Bhiwani HR’ appears 55 times with a consistent investment of Rs 15,000 per entry except Rs 10,000 at one time.

* ‘Kalawati Devi,140 VPO Bhagwai Ch. Dadri HR’ is listed 16 times. Ch. Dadri presumably stands for Charkhi Dadri,a district in Haryana adjoining Delhi.

* If ‘Kalawati Bhusari’ surfaces in ‘Jaipur Nagpur Maharashtra’ at one time,another ‘Kalawati’ lives at ‘187 Aurangabad Lucknow UP’ (Serial Nos. 118507 and 6612830).

* The address for ‘Kalawati Ahir’ (Serial No. 1887125) is ‘W No 12 Nepalganj Banke UP’.

* The ‘Kalawati Chamar’ at Serial No. 306151 appears to live just a ward away,but in a different country. The address for her is ‘W No 13 Nepalganj Saigaw Nepal’. Nepalganj,incidentally,is a popular tourist destination in Nepal.

All our investors genuine: Sahara

When contacted,Sahara Group spokesperson Abhijit Sarkar said: “While the CD containing the list of investors was given to SEBI,we had very categorically advised SEBI that the data is private and confidential and SEBI should use it only for the purpose of its investigations. As this data is not shared with anyone else except SEBI,it is unfortunate that SEBI has indulged in media trial by privately leaking the same to media.

“It may be possible to have many people with the same name as it is a very common name… their addresses,parentage,investment and also the day of investments would be different,which clearly indicates that though of the same name,they are different investors.

“Further,it is incorrect to say that the investors’ list is at present under the scanner of Hon’ble Supreme Court… It may be possible that more than one person residing at the same address may have joined the scheme or one person may have subscribed at more than one occasions. But we assure you that all our investors are bone fide and genuine and the correctness of the same is assured by us.

“We have been repeatedly asking SEBI to verify the investors and associate us in the process of verification… SEBI has,however,not yet started the verification process but is unfortunately indulging in media campaign against us.

“Aurangabad is a place in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and is not a geographically impossible location.”

For all the latest News Archive News, download Indian Express App

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement