National News

Seize Sahara’s Aamby Valley property to recover dues, rules Supreme Court

The bench extended company chief Subrata Roy’s parole for the sixth time since May 2016.

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered for Sahara’s Aamby Valley property near Lonavla, Maharashtra, to be attached to recover dues from the company. The court extended Sahara chief Subrata Roy’s parole after a sum of Rs 600 crore was deposited with the Securities and Exchange Board of India, NDTV reported.

The company acknowledged that it owed Rs 14,000 crore as principal money to Sebi. The top court denied Sahara’s offer to clear its dues by July 2019. The bench led by Justice Dipak Misra ordered the attachment to fast-track the recovery process. It also asked Sahara to provide a list of properties that were free from litigation and mortgage so the information can be released to the public.

The next hearing in the matter is scheduled for February 27.

The Sahara group has been embroiled in a lengthy court battle with the market regulator over a case involving a Rs 24,000-crore refund to investors. The court said it would focus on the repayment of the principal amount before ensuring that the group repays the interest.

Roy was sent to Tihar Jail in March 2014 after he failed to comply with a court order. He had been directed to refund the money raised by selling investors bonds, which were later ruled illegal. He has been out on parole since May 6, 2016, after his mother died. This is the sixth time his parole has been extended.

On February 2, 2016, Sahara had sought permission from the Supreme Court to sell its 42% stake in the Formula 1 team Force India, four airplanes and its Sahara Star Hotel in Mumbai to raise Rs 3,000 crore of the Rs 10,000-crore bail bond set for Roy’s release. The company had also said negotiations were underway to sell three of its overseas hotels – the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, the New York Plaza Hotel and the Dream New York Hotel.

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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

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According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.

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During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.