SAT adjourns Sahara, Roy pleas against attachment of assets

The Securities Appellate Tribunal today adjourned to 20 April its hearing of Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy's plea against a Securities & Exchange Board of India order attaching his bank accounts and other assets, as well as those of two Sahara firms and their top executives.

After taking up the petition for preliminary hearing, the SAT adjourned the matter as the counsel for the Sahara Group sought adjournment due to medical reasons.

The issue relates to a Supreme Court order for the refund of over Rs24,000 crore raised through "various illegalities" by Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHICL) and Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIRECL).

Sahara chief Subrata Roy, Ashok Roy Chaudhary and others have filed four petitions against the SEBI orders.

The petitions have challenged SEBI's 13 February order attaching bank accounts, investments and other assets of the two companies and their four top executives, including Roy, to eventually sell them for recovering required funds for the refund to investors.

Roy had first approached SAT against SEBI's attachment orders in February, followed by pleas filed by other entities.

The tribunal last heard the matter on 26 March, when it decided to proceed further on all the petitions together.

The Supreme Court in its order had asked SEBI to facilitate the refund of the money to over 30 million bondholders after verifying their genuineness.

SEBI issued attachment orders after expiry of the court-set deadline for the refund.

Sahara has questioned SEBI move to attach Roy's property, saying that neither he was issued a show-cause notice nor did SEBI follow the procedure of securing an enabling order from a judicial magistrate.

Countering Sahara's claims, SEBI has sought dismissal of the plea, saying that the Supreme Court order in the case was self-explanatory and executive in nature and that the Sahara Group had been given many occasions to present their case.

In the meantime, SEBI has also approached the Supreme Court seeking orders for detention of Subrata Roy, and this plea will come up for hearing later this month.