The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has filed a petition in the Supreme Court asking it to direct Sahara Group to deposit ₹62,603 crore due to its investors.
Sebi told the top court that Sahara had failed to comply with the 2012 and 2015 court orders to deposit the entire amount it had collected from investors along with 15% annual interest, according to a copy of the petition filed on Wednesday (November 17), news agency Reuters reported.
“Saharas have made no efforts whatsoever to comply with the orders and directions,” SEBI told the court. “On the other hand, contemnors’ liability is increasing daily and contemnors are enjoying their release from custody,” it said.
A Sahara spokesman, responding to Reuters, disputed the amount saying the company had already deposited about ₹22,000 crore with the regulator, which it said was “mischievously” adding interest on the entire amount to arrive at the sum demanded.
“How can there be claimants since Sahara has already paid back, long time back?” the spokesman said. “It is a typical case of double payment.”
Last month, the Sahara group said it has paid ₹3,226 crore to more than 10 lakh members of its four associated cooperative credit societies in the last 75 days, including some payments against requests from people who had complained about delayed payouts.
The group said there has been some delay in payments, primarily due to an embargo imposed for last eight years by the Supreme Court, while approximately ₹22,000 crore of its funds, including interest amount, are deposited in the Sahara-Sebi account, which was created to refund bondholders of two group firms.
In a statement, Sahara said Sebi has been able to repay only ₹106.1 crore to the investors in these eight years despite repeated attempts, which the group said only affirms its view that there are no claimants left as most bondholders were already repaid before it was asked by the regulator to deposit the money.
The group said it is hopeful that this amount of ₹22,000 crore would eventually come back to it after due verification, as per directives of the apex court.
Referring to the embargo on it, Sahara said, “If any money is generated through selling or mortgaging assets of the group (including co-operatives) or from its joint ventures the same has to be deposited in the Sahara-Sebi account, as per the directives of Supreme Court.
“We cannot use even a single rupee for organisational work, not even for repayment to the esteemed investors,” it added.
In its statement, the group further said the total amount of ₹3,226.03 crore paid to its members in the last 75 days includes 2.18% towards requests from those who complained about delayed payments.
“The total delayed-payment complainants are 0.07% of the total 8 crore investors Sahara has across India,” it said.
“Sahara in the last 10 years has made maturity payment of ₹1,40,157.51 crore to 5,76,77,339 esteemed investors. Out of this only around 40 per cent cases are of reinvestment, the rest have been paid in cash,” it said.
(With inputs from PTI)