Sahara Defends Itself in Ad, Lashes Out at Sebi


Ad comes two days after SC pulled up two Sahara Group firms for not refunding about Rs.24,000 crore to bond investors

Sahara Group said on its website that the total liabilities of the two firms to bond investors has dropped from Rs 24,000 crore to Rs 2,610 crore, which it said has been paid to Sebi with a buffer amount of `2,500 crore. Photo:

MUMBAI:  It has reported that the Sahara Group has alleged that Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) chairman U.K. Sinha had “mischievously misled each and everyone about Sahara OFCD (optionally fully convertible debentures) issue”, in an advertisement in which it has sought to defend itself while lashing out at the capital market regulator.

Sahara-India-PariwarThe advertisement (visit the link by the Sahara Group, which was issued to newspapers including Mint on Friday night, came two days after the Supreme Court pulled up Sahara India Real Estate Corp. Ltd (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp. Ltd (SHICL) for not refunding about Rs.24,000 crore to bond investors.

The Supreme Court on 17 July said it will summon Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy and the other directors of these two firms if they fail to comply with its directions.

The Sahara Group advertisement said, “Well, right from the beginning Sebi’s one point programme has been to hit and destroy Sahara by mischievously misleading campaign of misinformation through media trial.”

Sahara directed readers to a URL for further details, where it says that in 2001, one of the group firms got written permission from the Registrar of Companies (RoC), Kolkata, under the ministry of corporate affairs to promote the OFCDs. In 2008, SIRECL and SHICL got RoC’s permission to raise money through OFCDs, according to this.
“Even after informing of 1.87 crore investors in 2007 (more than 50 investors) as mentioned above, no objection was raised by RoC or Sebi or any government departments. Throughout these 10 years, all RoCs as per Companies Act regularly did inspections, investigation and regularly took balance sheets and returns and other documents every year. We are now being mainly accused that with more than 50 investors, it does not remain private placement,” the website said.

Sahara Group said on its website that the total liabilities of the two firms to bond investors has dropped from Rs.24,000 crore to Rs.2,610 crore, which it said has been paid to Sebi with a buffer amount of Rs.2,500 crore.
“Sahara is being singled out for severe punishment and that, too, with retrospective effect. Why government departments (RoCs and everybody) were not punished. Had they not repeatedly given permissions, Sahara would not have faced today’s huge problem, injustice,” the Sahara Group website said.

SIRECL and SHICL had collected money from at least 29.61 million investors between April 2008 and April 2011 through OFCDs. The capital market regulator had said that the OFCD sale was in violation of public issue norms under the companies law and the Sebi Act. The apex court had on 31 August 2012 directed Sebi to collect money from the Sahara group firms and refund it to the investors.

Sahara has filed a defamation case in a Patna court against Mint’s editor and some reporters over the newspaper’s coverage of the company’s disputes with Sebi.


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