Chinese conglomerate among top contenders for Sahara hotels: report

With four interested buyers, apart from the Sultan of Brunei, for his three iconic hotels, in New York and London, Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy is expected to seek another 15 working days from the Supreme Court to raise the Rs10,000 crore required for his regular bail.

Business Today cited a source close to the development as saying the four buyers in the race included a cash-rich Chinese infrastructure and real estate conglomerate which had emerged as the front-runner, a Geneva-based firm, a business entity in New York and a Middle East princeling.

The source said the names of the entities could not be disclosed as they had signed non-disclosure agreements. The Sultan of Brunei is reportedly still interested in the deal despite the strong protests against him by gay activists outside the trophy hotels in New York.

The Supreme Court had, on 1 August, allowed Roy and two directors of his group to use the conference room in Tihar Jail complex for 10 days from 5 August to hold negotiations with potential buyers for the hotels - Dream Downtown and The Plaza in New York and Grosvenor House in London.

Facilities, including computers and assistants, had been provided for his use for a period of 15 days which was further extended for 15 days on 14 August.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court would likely hear on Monday an application by Roy and two other directors seeking another 10 days' stay in the Tihar Jail court complex's conference hall to negotiate the sale of the assets, IANS reported.
 
The assets, located overseas and within the country, would need to be sold to raise Rs10,000 crore as part repayment of investors' money that Sahara Group's two companies SIRECL and SHICL had collected through optional fully convertible debentures (OFCDs) in 2008-09.
 
This was also a condition for their release from judicial custody to which they were sent by the top court on 4 March.
 
The apex court, on 1 August, had allowed the shifting of Roy and two other directors - Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary - to a make-shift jail in conference hall at the jail court complex for negotiating sale of his properties, in India and abroad.

A bench of justice TS Thakur, justice Anil R Dave and justice AK Sikri in the 14 August  hearing of the extension plea had said: "You must ensure that you comply with it within the extended period and you will not come for more extension."