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Corporate Sep 4, 2012

Nearly 70,000 Sahara refunds related to people who'd died

By Raman Kirpal

Can 69,673 investors have died in a group of 11,77,748 people who had subscribed to Sahara's optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCDs) issued by Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIREC) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation (SHIC) and whose investments were redeemed between 2008 and 2011?

But this is what SIREC told the Supreme Court in an affidavit when giving details of the amount of money collected throughs OFCDs by the company - which will now have to be refunded in three months under the supervision of Sebi.

The Supreme Court judgment mentions that SIREC made premature redemptions of Rs 1,744.34 crore to 11.78 lakh investors, while SHIC made premature redemptions of Rs 7.30 crore to 5,306 investors out of Rs 19,400.87 crore collected by the former and Rs 6,380.5 crore collected by the later.

But here's the interesting part.

The countdown has begun for the Saharas. In the next seven days, they have to produce 'genuine' details with documentary proof for 11,77,748 refunds, including 69,673 'dead' investors. Reuters

SIREC reported the refund of Rs 43.23 crore to 33,854 investors of its Abode bonds who had died, Rs 23.03 crore to another 14,958 investors in Nirman bonds, and Rs 12.84 crore to 20,861 to relatives of investors in its Real Estate bonds.

That's a total of 69,673 investors who died in a total of 11.77 lakh - or nearly a six percent mortality rate among investors who were given refunds.

However, the figure is not high if taken as a percentage of the entire investor base of nearly 232.85 lakh in SIREC's three bonds - which is now down to 221.07 lakh.

However, the Supreme Court judgment adds to the confusion on investor numbers when it mentions the Sahara affidavit. It says that SIREC had 232.85 lakh investors on 13 April 2011, and this figure had fallen to 221.07 lakh by 31 August.

The drop in the number of investors is 11.78 lakh in just over four months.

The question is whether the number of dead investors relates to this four-month period, when the number of 11.78 lakh refunds corresponds to the total premature redemption figures for investors.

If 69,673 SIREC investors died in three months, that's a bit too much - and highly unlikely. If it relates to the whole period from April 2008 to November 2011, when the numbers were updated by Sahara, then it is not too high.

Either way, Sebi will have to go into the details and figure out what is what.

In the next seven days (the Supreme Court said 10 days, but that was on 31 August), the Sahara Group will have to furnish the details, with supporting documents, to establish how much they had refunded to persons who subscribed to the OFCDs of SIREC and SHIC.

SIREC had issued three bonds, namely Abode (for 10 years, with the earliest premature redemptions permitted after 60 months), Nirman (48 months, with earliest premature redemption permitted after 18 months) and Real Estate bonds (for 60 months with no option for premature redemption).

In case of death, however, full redemption was possible in all bonds.

A majority of SIREC's investors (13.036 million) preferred to invest in Real Estate bonds worth Rs 7,120 crore. And Abode bonds came in for second preference, as 70.61 lakhs invested Rs 8,411 crore. Nirman bonds had a small following of 13.06 lakh investors with an investment of Rs 1,959 crore.

The countdown has begun for the Saharas. In the next seven days, they have to produce 'genuine' details with documentary proof (more importantly, the application filled by each applicant for the bonds, as specified by the Supreme Court) for 11,77,748 refunds, including 69,673 'dead' investors. And then, in precisely 87 days, the Saharas will have to give details of the remaining 2,21,07,271 investors in SIREC! And after that, to the 75,08,000 investors of SHIC.

And that too under the vigil of retired Supreme Court judge!

by Raman Kirpal

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