SC asks Sahara to disclose source of money

RSTV Bureau
File Photo: Subrato Roy, Chief of Sahara Group, who had been in jail for over two years for not complying with Supreme Court's orders to return the money to investors.

File Photo: Subrato Roy, Chief of Sahara Group, who had been in jail for over two years for not complying with Supreme Court’s orders to return the money to investors.

The Supreme Court Friday asked the Lucknow based Sahara Group to come clean by disclosing its sources from where it had raised Rs 25,000 crore and paid its investors in cash, observing that it is “difficult to digest” as such a huge amount “cannot fall from the heavens.”

“You (Sahara Group) tell us what is the source of this money? Did you get the money from other companies or other schemes to the tune of Rs 24,000 crore? Withdrew it from bank accounts? Or sold property to get it? It should be any of the three alternatives. Money did not fall from the heavens. You have to show from where you have got the money.

Hours after the Supreme Court asked it to disclose the source of its money, the Sahara Group today said the money collected through optionally fully- convertible debentures (OFCD) were invested in various assets and the group companies made the money available when the need arose for making repayments to the investors.

The group’s statement, which came after the apex court asked the company to disclose the source of money to the tune of Rs 25,000 crore that was arranged, said, “it is relevant to mention that Sahara operates from around 5000 branches across the country and all the payments were made through those branches only.

“It is this pan-India network of Sahara’s branches, which made the company to refund money.”

The group, through its lawyer, further said that all the documents pertaining to these repayments have been handed over to SEBI in original, along with the original bond certificates surrendered by the investors.

It said that all the documents pertaining to the payments made to the investors have already been placed before the apex court.

“Since the majority of the investors of Sahara do not have the bank accounts and they had made the investments in cash, therefore they were refunded and paid in cash only,” the statement said.

It justified the payment made in cash, saying that SEBI and other statutory authorities permit cash transactions up to the tune of Rs 50,000, and the average investment in the OFCD was around Rs 8,000.