Saharaseeks change of order curbing chief, directors' travel

New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) The Sahara Group Tuesday sought change in the apex court order that restrains its chief Subrata Roy and its two directors from going abroad till they submit original title deeds of assets valued at Rs.20,000 crore to SEBI and these are examined by the market regulator.

The market regulator upon examining the title documents will give its response, which would be considered by this court on the next date of hearing, the court said.

The title deeds to assets worth Rs.20,000 crore would cover the amount that the Sahara Group has to give to Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to return to investors the Rs.24,000 crore that its two real estate and finance companies had collected.

Senior counsel C.A. Sundaram, representing the Sahara Group, told the apex court bench headed by Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan that there was an error in the court's order as it wanted to say: "If we don't comply with the order, the alleged contemnors will be restrained from leaving the country after three weeks but the order instead says (we will not leave the country) till we comply with order."

This is not what court had intended to say, Sundaram told the court.

At this, Justice Radhakrishnan said it was not the bench which had passed the order and said he will consult Justice J.S. Khehar and consider the plea for modifying the order.

The apex court by its Monday had said, "Mr. C.A. Sundaram, learned senior counsel appearing for respondent No.5 (alleged contemnor), brought to our notice letter dated Oct 17 received from the managing director and CEO of the PNB Investment Services Limited. The same is taken on record and is marked as 'Annexure-A'."

"Mr. Sundaram, on the basis of the said letter and on instructions received from the Sahara Group of Companies, submitted that the alleged contemnors are willing to make available to SEBI the original title deeds of unencumbered properties, worth 20,000 crores, along with proper valuation reports, within a period of three weeks from today.

"SEBI, in turn, will examine the same and make their response, which shall be considered by this court on the next date of hearing.

"Till the above direction is complied with to the satisfaction of SEBI, the alleged contemnors (respondents) shall not leave the country without the permission of this court," said the order which is being sought to be modified.

While court had asked two Sahara companies to make available to the market regulator the original deeds of its assets to back the payment of Rs. 20,000 crores by Nov 11, it had directed the listing of the matter on Nov 20.

Two Sahara Groups companies - Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd. (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd. (SHICL) - had collected Rs. 24,000 crores from the investors through Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures (OFCD).

The apex court by its Aug 31 order had directed the two to return the investors Rs.24,400 crore with 15 percent interest. Sahara has already paid Rs.5,120 crore to SEBI for this purpose.

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