More than 4,700 acres owned by the Sahara Group in India has been put on sale by HDFC Realty and SBI Capital Markets. The auction across 14 states is expected to bring in at least Rs 6,500 crore. The Securities and Exchange Board of India had given the two banking ventures the authority to auction 60 properties across the country following a Supreme Court order.
Sahara claims to own a land bank of 33,633 acres, of which Aamby Valley City near Lonavala makes up 10,600 acres. The company, with its headquarters in Lucknow, has plots covering 1,000 acres across Uttar Pradesh in Aligarh, Bahraich, Bareilly, Muzaffarnagar, Lucknow and Noida. It also owns properties in places like Ujjain and Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Ajmer in Rajasthan, Guwahati in Assam, Salem in Tamil Nadu, and Porbander and Baroda in Gujarat, The Times of India reported.
The Sahara group had submitted land documents to SEBI in 2013, after the Supreme Court directed the company to return Rs 20,500 crore to its investors. While auctioneers hope to gain more than Rs 6,500 crore from the 60 properties, market experts noted that large portions of the plots for sale are agricultural and located in rural areas, which may affect the amount raised from the properties. “The income tax department has also staked a claim on these properties to recover its dues,” an official said.
On May 11, the Supreme Court extended Sahara India chief Subrata Roy’s parole, allowing him to remain out of jail till July 11. However, the apex court directed him to deposit Rs 200 crore with the market regulator by July 11, failing which he will be sent back to Tihar Jail.
Roy, founder and chairman of Sahara India, was sent to Tihar Jail in March 2014, after he failed to comply with a court order, which directed him to refund money that was raised from investors by selling them bonds that were later ruled illegal. Sahara needs to arrange for Rs 10,000 crore – partly in cash and the remaining in the form of bank guarantees – to secure bail for Roy and two other directors in jail.