The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the Sahara Group to choose any parcel of its properties in the Aamby Valley city project in Maharashtra and sell them by May 15 and deposit the proceeds with SEBI-Sahara refund account.
A special bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered the submission of senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing Subrata Roy and the Sahara group, that they be allowed to sell the properties on their own as auctioning would not fetch the desired price.
The bench, also comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and A K Sikri, initially asked the group to deposit Rs 750 crore by May 15 by selling the properties from one parcel of the Aamby Valley.
However, later the bench said it would not specify the amount in its order. It said if the Sahara Group failed to sell its property by May 15, the Bombay High Court’s official liquidator will proceed with the proposed auctioning process to sell them.
The court specifically told the Sahara Group that they have time till May 15 to sell the properties by themselves or these would be auctioned.
It said the group will have to establish its bonafide by depositing some more money and fixed the matter for hearing on May 16.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Singh said Sahara has already deposited more than Rs 17,000 crore and they deserved a hearing a lot of issues were required to be looked into.
The bench asked the group to keep apprising the company judge of the Bombay High Court about the sale of its properties and submit the sale proceeds with the SEBI-Sahara Refund account.
It took note of the reports filed by the official liquidator of the High Court and the court receiver appointed to maintain the Aamby Valley properties and said the Sahara Group will start carrying out their maintenance.
The bench asked the court receiver to collect money from the residents of these properties for maintenance and pay to the group if the group starts the maintenance work.
The official liquidator, in its report, said it has commenced the procedure for auctioning the Aamby Valley property for which bids will be invited from May 21 to 31 and the auction begin from June 2.
On November 23, the apex court had granted liberty to two Bombay High Court judges to adopt procedures to facilitate the auctioning of the properties and directed the liquidator not to allow any obstruction in the process.
Earlier, the apex court had taken strong exception to the Sahara Group allegedly obstructing the auctioning process and warned that anyone indulging in such an act would be held liable for contempt and “sent to jail”.
Roy, who has spent almost two years in jail, has been on parole since May 6 last year. The parole was granted the first time to enable him attend the funeral of his mother. It has been extended since then.
Besides Roy, two other directors—Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary—were arrested for 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 crore to their investors.