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RBI moves SC to block Sahara from selling assets for Roy's bail

14 February 2015

Fresh trouble may be brewing for the beleaguered Sahara Group, which is trying raise the Rs10,000 crore needed to get its jailed chief Subrata Roy out on bail. The Reserve Bank of India moved the Supreme Court on Friday seeking a restraint against one of the group companies from alienating its assets.

Pleading for permission to intervene and argue, RBI has asked for a modification of a 2014 order that allowed Sahara to alienate securities and assets of its group companies, including Sahara India Financial Corporation Ltd (SIFCL), for the purpose of making payments under the directions of the court.

The RBI, however, requested the court to restrain SIFCL from utilising its assets and securities for paying dues to the Securities & Exchange Board of India, asserting that SIFCL was a Residuary Non-Banking Financial Firm and any money from alienation of its assets could only be used for the purpose of paying into the SEBI-Sahara Refund Account.

The RBI said that it was necessary to ensure that the funds of the SIFCL were utilised only for the purpose of repayment to the depositors and were not diverted on the pretext of complying with the directions of the court to deposit Rs10,000 crore to secure Roy's bail from jail.

''The RBI had carried out the inspection of the company at annual intervals under RBI Act and it was noticed that the deposit-taking activity of SIFCL were not in conformity with prudent practices ,'' said the application, also seeking direction to SIFCL to disclose the details of its assets and aggregate liability to depositors of the company as on 31 December 2014.

It has also sought a direction to credit to an escrow account with any nationalised bank if any amount already deposited in the SEBI-Sahara Refund Account or account of the partnership firm Sahara India or any other group derived out of the assets of SIFCL.

The RBI has alleged that Rs484.67 crore had been transferred to the account of its various branches after alienating the assets and securities instead of being utilised for repayment to depositors or crediting to SEBI-Sahara Account, as stipulated by the court. A bench led by Justice T S Thakur is likely to take up this plea on 20 February.


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