Sahara Group financially sound; victim of politics: Roy

02 Dec 2013


Sahara group chief Subrata Roy said on Friday that he has no intention of selling any of his ''Parivar silver'', referring to the group's three flagship hotels - the Plaza and Grosvenor House in London and Dream Downtown in New York.

He said the group's assets are more than adequate to pay off the Rs2,500 crore remaining to be paid to its debenture holders.

''Today we have offers, after paying foreign debts for the three hotels, for about Rs10,500 crore. But, of course, we aren't selling,'' Roy told a press conference.

Incommunicado since the Supreme Court barred him from leaving the country and ordered him to take the court's permission before selling any assets, Roy faced the media in Kolkata after two days of meeting with his ''workers''.

Roy said he would move the Supreme Court shortly to allow the group submit title deeds of the properties directly to the nationalised banks and not to the Securities & Exchange Board of India, which he alleges has a vindictive attitude.

Roy said his public liabilities now are only about Rs35,000 crore while the ''fair value'' of his assets is Rs1.20 lakh crore. And this is not an ''overvalued'' figure, as SEBI has claimed before the court, he said.

''We had submitted securities of certain land valued at Rs8.75 crore an acre. But SEBI could manage a value of just Rs54 lakh an acre from the same valuer,'' Roy said.

Sahara's deposit-taking hasn't been affected despite the court ruling and is in fact rising. It is now at Rs12,000 crore a year, against which the annual pay out to depositors is about Rs600-800 crore, he said. Also, Sahara is coming up with investments that would generate revenues of Rs18 lakh crore in the next eight to 10 years, he said, without going into specifics.

Roy claimed his group has landed in trouble with regulators such as the Reserve Bank of India and SEBI because of his ''emotional'' comment against Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

He said the RBI trained its guns on his deposit-taking business after he said that only a person of Indian origin should become prime minister.

"Top Congress honchos who wanted to please Sonia Gandhi and get close to her decided to take up cudgels on her behalf, and not Sonia Gandhi herself. So it appeared at the time," Roy said.

One thing led to another and the regulators continued to create impediments for his group, forcing it to wind down its RNBC (residuary non-banking companies) business.

"It is no longer a political issue, but a confrontation with regulators like RBI and Sebi," Roy said.

"I challenge the whole country as well as the whole system of the country to prove that Sahara India Pariwar has done anything unlawful in the last 35 years," he told the a packed conference hall.

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