Sahara loses appeal in Rs24,000-crore refund issue

The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) today dismissed an appeal by two Sahara group firms - Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Limited and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Limited - against the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) over the refund of about Rs24,000 crore collected by the two firms by way of optionally fully convertible bonds.

The two Sahara firms had filed the appeal impugning a letter issued by SEBI on 1 November 2012 asking the two appellants to furnish details of all the bank accounts and properties.

According to the appellants, SEBI had deliberately refused to accept the documents and wrongly proceeded on the basis that the appellants are in non-compliance of the Supreme Court judgement.

The appellants also expressed apprehension that SEBI may also not accept the payments that may be tendered in compliance with the Supreme Court orders and sought directions to the Registrar of the Securities Appellate Tribunal to accept custody of the amount to be paid by the appellants to SEBI by 30 November 2012.

The appeal also sought a time frame within which the respondent could repay the amount to the OFCD holders and a scheme as to how SEBI proposes to refund the money.

Counsel for SEBI, however, objected to the maintainability of the appeal, saying that SEBI's letter dated 1 November 2012 to the two appellants is not an appealable order within the meaning of Section 15T of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 and hence the appeal is not maintainable. He also submitted that the appeal is premature as no amount has been tendered by the appellant in compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court order.