It never rains but it pours, as Sahara group chief Subrata Roy might be feeling. Even as he struggles to raise the Rs10,000 crore he needs to get out of jail, the Income Tax authorities have gone to the Supreme Court seeking back-tax dues of Rs7,000 crore since 2011.
This comes on the same day that Roy, who has been in jail for four months now, sought release on parole for 40 days to finalise the sale deal of three hotels in New York and London to raise the bail amount.
A bench headed by Justice T S Thakur, however, asked the company to dispose of its Indian assets first.
Roy's counsel Rajeev Dhavan however submitted that Rs5,000 crore might not be raised by selling the groups Indian assets, and asked the court to allow him to sell his hotels Dream Downtown and The Plaza in New York and Grosvenor House in London, for which negotiations are going on.
"We have no problem in allowing you to sell properties, provided the transactions are fair, genuine and there is no undervaluing of the properties. But we do not know how the valuation of property in the other country is done," the bench said.
Warning Sahara against selling all its properties for raising Rs10,000 when the total amount it hs to pay investors is Rs38,000 crore, Justice Thakur told Dhavan, "The property on which the liability may fall tomorrow should not go cheap now. The liability is far too high in comparison to what you are trying to manage immediately."
The bench asked Securities Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to come out with suggestions on how to monitor selling of overseas properties and posted the case for hearing on Friday.