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SEBI moves Supreme Court, wants Sahara to pay Rs 62,600 crore due to its investors to stay out of jail

Markets regulator Sebi has moved the Supreme Court seeking direction to Sahara conglomerate chief Subrata Roy and two of his companies to deposit Rs 62,600 crore that it said was due to its investors.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) told the Supreme Court that Sahara had failed to comply with 2012 and 2015 court orders to deposit the entire amount it collected from investors along with 15 per cent annual interest, according to a copy of the petition filed on Wednesday.

Despite the top court granting various reliefs to Subrata Roy and his firms, they have neglected and failed to comply with various orders passed by this court, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said.

In its intervention application filed on November 18, Sebi said, ‘contemnors have not been complying with the orders passed by this Court despite the long rope provided to them and their liability is increasing daily.’

Tycoon Subrata Roy was arrested in March 2014 for failing to attend a contempt of court hearing and has been on bail since 2016. He has denied any wrongdoing.

SEBI said that Sahara’s non-compliance over eight years had caused the regulator ‘great inconvenience’ and that those guilty of contempt should be taken into custody if they failed to deposit the amount.

In its defence, Sahara has previously told the court that it had refunded in cash most of the money it collected from investors and submitted relevant documents with the regulator, which was not verifying them.

Roy has so far deposited over Rs.15,000 crores, SEBI said in the court filing. The court has not yet decided when the case will be heard next.

Roy was sent to the Tihar Jail by the apex court on March 4, 2014 and came out on parole after spending over two years in prison on May 6, 2016 to perform the last rites of his mother Chhabi Roy. He has been out of prison since then.

Earlier, the apex court had noted that the Sahara group has already deposited around Rs 20,000 crore in the Sebi-Sahara account, which includes Rs 15,000 crore principal amount and Rs 4,800 crore interest.

In July 2018, the auctioning process of Sahara group’s prized Aamby Valley properties was put off by the top court after it was informed that the auction notice did not elicit any response from prospective buyers.

Roy and two other directors were arrested for failure of the group’s two companies – SIRECL and SHICL – to comply with the court’s August 31, 2012 order to return Rs 25,000 crore to their investors.

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