Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India on Wednesday ordered a Sahara Group company to refund Rs 14,000 crore that it raised from investors between 1998 and 2009 in violation of rules. The company and its then directors, including Subrata Roy, have been asked to return the money to the nearly two crore investors with a 15% annual interest.
The order also bars the company – Sahara India Commercial Corporation Ltd – as well as its then directors and associated entities from the markets, and from associating with any public entity.
The order comes at a time the company is fighting a case in the Supreme Court against another order issued by the market regulator in 2011 asking two Sahara companies to refund over Rs 24,000 crore raised by issuing bonds to nearly three crore people.
The regulatory body asked Sahara to deposit the money in a special SEBI account set up using a Supreme Court-monitored repayment process. However, the group has claimed to have already refunded more than 98% of the amount directly to investors and contends that the proof has been submitted to the regulator.
In July, the Supreme Court put off the auction of the group’s Aamby Valley property after the Bombay High Court’s official liquidator told the court there are no prospective buyers. The property was scheduled to be auctioned so that Sahara’s creditors could be paid. Several attempts to auction Aamby Valley have failed before.