SC to hear Sahara-SEBI case today

The top court was hearing SEBI's plea seeking contempt action against the Sahara group for allegedly obstructing the auctioning process of Aamby Valley. Image courtesy Facebook

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Maharashtra DGP to hand over Sahara's flagship project Amby Valley to the Bombay High Court official liquidator for auction after market regulator Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) blamed the company for the failure of the first round of bidding for the project.

Group chief Subrata Roy, who spent around two years in jail for failing to submit the dues, is now out on parole.In a letter addressed to the Superintendent of Police Pune (Rural) with copies marked to Additional chief secretary, the group had claimed that the Supreme Court order had brought its business to a standstill as no real estate transaction was happening and that it was forced to issue a lockout notice. A Bench of chief justice Dipak Misra, Ranjan Gogoi and AK Sikri directed the liquidator to conduct the auction process afresh under the guidance of the companies judge in Mumbai and a judge of the Bombay High Court.

Later however, the apex court clarified that it was not initiating any contempt action at this stage.

On Sebi's allegation that the police had taken custody of the property due to which no bidder was willing to take part in the auction process, the bench asked the Director General of Police, Maharashtra, to ensure that the property was handed over to the liquidator within 48 hours. Senior counsel Arvind P. Datar for Sebi said the police had taken possession of the property and auction could not take place on October 3, as there were no buyers.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the Sahara group, countered the submission and said the custody of the property has not been handed over to the poilice and "completly wrong statements are being made to prejudice the court".

"No bidder has come".

Aamby Valley property auction process was to start from Tuesday but SEBI said Sahara Group has been "obstructing" it by allegedly suspending day-to-day business activities in the project.

The bench said Justice Oka and the company judge shall work in harmony so that the auctioning process goes on smoothly. The Supreme Court had said that the sale would be withdrawn if Sahar managed to deposit Rs1,500 crore before the next date of hearing. Sebi will then attempt to auction it again.

Roy, who has spent nearly two years in jail, has been on parole since May 6 last year.

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