Three Independent Directors Quit Sahara Group, Reports Economic Times

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New episode in SEBI-Sahara Group battle. Recent developments are affecting Sahara’s other companies. Economic Times today reported that, a fortnight before the battle between Sahara Group and capital market regulator Sebi enters what could well be its final lap, three independent directors of other Sahara Group companies have resigned. Former Reserve Bank of India deputy governor Amitava Ghosh stepped down from the boards of four Sahara firms followed by retired Supreme Court judge S Mohan and former chairman of New India Assurance AC Mukherjee. All three have cited either health or personal reasons for putting in their papers.

The-Economic-Times-LogoNewspaper said, Ghosh was a director in Sahara Prime – a company with sizeable land bank and assets — Sahara Life, Sahara Mutual Fund and Sahara Hospitality, which owns the group’s five-star hotel in Mumbai among things. Justice (retd) Mohan was the independent trustee of the Sahara Group’s asset management company while Mukherjee was an independent member on the board of the life insurance firm.

These companies, however, are still untouched by the dispute between Sahara and the market watchdog. “These companies have not been impacted by the current problem…but it’s unclear whether the decision of these directors have been shaped by what could unfold in future”, said a person familiar with the development.

According to the newspaper, Many Sahara companies have retired bureaucrats and former bank chairman as directors.

It is to be noted that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Tuesday (26 March 2013) directed three of the Sahara group’s directors and its Chairman Subrata Roy to appear before whole-time member, Prashant Saran, at the regulator’s Mumbai headquarters on April 10.

On February 13, Sebi had passed an order for attachment of assets of Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) and four individuals — Subrata Roy, Vandana Bhargava, Ravi Shankar Dubey, and Ashok Roy Choudhary.

In an order passed on Tuesday, SEBI directed these individuals to produce, in original, all title deeds of their assets and their bank accounts, along with their income-tax and wealth tax returns filed since 2007-08.

Tuesday’s order came after the named individuals failed to meet the directions given in the Supreme Court orders of August 31, 2012, and December 5, 2012.

“In order to comply with the directions relating to the sale of assets as provided in the orders of the Supreme Court and to pass necessary orders for the sale of assets for realisation of the monies due, it is necessary to examine Ashok Roy Choudhary, Ravi Shankar Dubey, Vandana Bhargava and Subrata Roy to ascertain the details of the investments and assets of SIREC, SHICL and their personal assets,” Sebi said in Tuesday’s (26 March 2013) order.

(Economic Times/IndiaCSR)

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