New Delhi, July 30 (IANS) The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Tuesday told the Supreme Court that Sahara Group's two real estate companies disobeyed three court orders on returning Rs.24,000 crores to investors.
The market regulator said Sahara chief Subrata Roy being a promoter of these companies could not escape the responsibility for the alleged disobedience of the court direction.
"There is a wilful, deliberate and continuous disobedience of the court's three orders" SEBI's senior counsel Arvind Dattar told the apex court bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice J.S. Khehar.
On Roy, he said he can't escape his liability by saying that he was just a shareholder.
Dattar told the court that two Sahara Group companies - the Sahara India Real Estate Corp and Sahara Housing Investment Corp have not complied with the court's orders of Aug 31, 2012, Dec 5, 2012 and Feb 25 directing them to deposit Rs.24,000 crores with the SEBI so that it could refunded the money to investors.
Assailing the Sahara counsel's plea that Roy could not be hauled for contempt as he was just a shareholder of the two companies, Dattar told the court that "they have told the registrar of companies that Roy wielded significant influence in the Sahara companies".
The court was told that Sahara had not contested the SEBI contention that Roy was central to the working of the group and directed its operations.
Dattar contended that the Sahara Group was a single economic entity and Roy was the group's managing karyakarta and he stood at the same footing as other three directors of two Sahara real estate companies and was equally liable for contempt of court.
The court is hearing three contempt petitions by the market regulator against two Sahara real estate companies, their directors, including Roy, for not complying with the apex court order to retrun Rs.24,000 crores of the investors that they mopped up through optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCD) in 2008-09.
On Aug 31, 2012, the court directed two Sahara companies to return to investors Rs.24,000 crore with 15 percent per annum interest.
The court Dec 5, 2012, modified the earlier decision and directed the SEBI to accept a deposit of Rs.5,120 crore that the market regulator had earlier refused to accept from Sahara companies.
The judges also told Sahara to deposit Rs.10,000 crore in the first week of January next year and the balance in the first week of February.
The court dismissed Feb 25, the Sahara companies' plea for more time to deposit the money.
The Securities Appellate Tribunal Oct 18, 2011 directed the two Sahara real estate companies to refund the money raised from investors.
The apex court would next hear the matter Aug 6.