SC asks Sahara to reveal source of Rs22,885-cr refund or face probe

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Sahara Group and its chief Subrata Roy Sahara to reveal the source of Rs22,885 crore the group claims to have refunded to investors of its optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCDs) or face inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Registrar of Companies.

The court made it very clear that it is not satisfied with the manner in which the company has been handling the implementation its order passed in 2012 and warned it would order a probe by the CBI and the Registrars of Companies, if it failed to explain the source of funding and the manner in which investors were refunded.

The apex court also refused to permit Subrata Roy Sahara from traveling abroad and asked the beleaguered group to publically apologise for posting advertisements in leading newspapers claiming they have faced injustice at the hands of the Indian justice system.

"Don't think that the court is helpless. We can ask the CBI and the Registrar of Companies to conduct probe against you. We are not helpless. We will find out the source of money if you don't reveal it. We would ask the probe agencies to find out," a bench comprising justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar said.

The bench also expressed its displeasure over Sahara's letter to SEBI, in which it stated that the source of the money was "immaterial".

"Someone from your company has the audacity to say that source is immaterial. If you have refunded the money then you must have the record of the source from where you got the money. We cannot tell you how obnoxious has been the reply. Your behaviour has been amazing," the bench said, adding, "We have been polite and generous to you but if you give us the stick, then what to do."

"We showed maximum indulgence to you but you never came out with truth during the last two years. No matter what you do, you have to give the amount," it said, observing, "If you have done blunder then we can't help you".