Corporate Dec 4, 2012
The Supreme Court has deferred its hearing on Sahara Group's plea till tomorrow after the company sought more time from the court to make a statement on refunding Rs 27,000 crore to its investors.
On Monday, the apex court had given Subrata-Roy led Sahara Group 24 hours to decide whether they would comply with the apex court's directive to refund Rs 24,000 crore to nearly 3 crore investors through market regulator Sebi or face consequences.
30 November, 2012 was the deadline for paying the amount to the market regulator. The Supreme Court on Monday refused to accept Sahara's readiness to deposit Rs 5,126 crore in compliance with the August 31 judgment.
On 31 August, the Supreme Court said the OFCD schemes run by Sahara India Real Estate Corporation and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation were illegal and asked the two Sahara companies to refund the money they collected from investors within 90 days, with 15% interest. It had directed the companies to deposit the money with Sebi, which would then distribute to the investors.
On Monday, a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir asked the two firms to tell whether they would be able to refund the entire amount to their investors within a week.
Justice Kabir, who is known for his cool demeanour, had some harsh words for the companies for not implementing the apex court's order and said the firms' plea does not merit any hearing.
"Your intention is very shaky. Your every step is shaky, we can't interpret our order according to your need," the bench said.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for one of the companies, tried to justify its failure to refund the entire amount, but the bench strongly rebutted him saying,"You are justifying your conduct, which is not justifiable".
The bench, however, granted a day's time to the two firms to inform it if they would be able to refund the money or not.
Market regulator SEBI also opposed Sahara's petition and submitted that it has already filed a contempt petition against them and said that a strong action should be taken against them.
The bench, however, said it is more concerned about the common man, who has invested his money in the companies.
"If you want me to send them to jail, we would send them, but we are more concerned about the investment made by the common man," the bench observed.
During the argument, Justice Kabir lost his cool when senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for another Sahara firm, stood up to argue the case.
"This is not the way. Even when your side is losing, you do not have the right to jump in," Justice Kabir said asking Rohatgi to sit down.
With inputs from PTI
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