Sahara agrees to refund Rs24,000 crore to investors in 3 months

Sahara Group today agreed to refund the Rs24,000-crore collected by two group companies through optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCDs) over a 3-month period, but sought more time to sort out issues with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), which accused the Sahara group of failing to submit documents pertaining to investors as per the apex court's earlier order.

Subrata Roy"We will refund the amount. There is no question of going back," senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, who appeared for the company, told a bench headed by Justice K S Radhakrishnan.

The apex court, in its 31 August order, had asked the companies to refund the mony to their investors within three months, with 15 per cent annual interest. Failure to refund the amount within the stipulated time would attract punitive action, including attachment of properties and freezing of bank accounts of the companies.

The counsel, however, sought more time for the two firms to sort out the "disagreement" with SEBI over their failure to supply necessary details pertaining to the investors as ordered by the Supreme Court earlier.

The Supreme Court had, in its 31 August order, directed two group companies of Sahara India Parivar to refund around Rs17,400 crore collected by way of OFCDs to the investors within three months, with interest thereon.

The two companies - Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIREC) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation (SHIC) – have been asked to refund the money with 15 per cent interest.