Liquidator publishes notice for auction of Aamby Valley

The official liquidator of the Bombay High Court today published a notice for auction of the embattled Sahara Group's Aamby Valley hill city near Pune and set the reserve price of the township at Rs37,392 crore, kicking off the Supreme Court mandated auction of the prime property.

Aamby Valley, the integrated hill city township promoted by the Subrata Roy-led Sahara Group, is spread over 6,761.6 acres and two land parcels of 1,409.8 acres and 321.6 acres, near Lonavala, between Mumbai and Pune.

The auction will be conducted through MSTC Ltd.

Sahara group pegs the market valuation of this project at over Rs1,00,000 crore.

Sahara had told the Supreme Court of India that a Mauritius-based investor, Royale Partners Investment Fund, last week had offered to invest $1.67 billion (about Rs10,900 crore) in Sahara group's Aamby Valley project.

Sahara's advocate Gautam Awasthi had said in a statement that the group had moved an application before the Supreme Court seeking permission for entering into an agreement with Victor Koenig UK Limited, with the nominee Royale Partners Investment Fund Limited, for inviting an investment of $1.67 billion into its Aamby Valley project.

"....Sahara's had also prayed for stopping the auction process. After hearing counsels for Sebi, amicus curie and Kapil Sibal, senior advocate for Sahara, the Supreme Court has opened a window for Sahara by permitting them to enter into the negotiations and deposit the amount before this court, and that is Rs1,500 crore to be deposited before the next date," he said.

Awasthi also said the Supreme Court judge had agreed to withdraw the auction order if Sahara manages to deposit Rs1,500 crore in the Sebi-Sahara account as directed the court earlier.

The Supreme Court on Thursday said the auction process will go on according to the schedule, if Sahara failed to deposit the Rs1,500 crore into the Sebi-Sahara refund account by 7 September.

The apex court had on 25 July asked Sahara chief Subrata Roy to deposit Rs1,500 crore in the Sebi-Sahara account by 7 September before it can deliberate upon his plea seeking 18 months more time for making complete repayment.

Sahara has been engaged in a long-running battle with the capital market regulator Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) over illegally raising Rs20,000 crore from millions of gullible investors through an instrument called Optionally Fully-Convertible Debentures (OFCD).

The Supreme Court had in August 2012 ordered the Lucknow-based group to deposit with the regulator over Rs24,000 crore, including interest theron, to repay investors.

Interestingly, not many investors have come forward to claim refunds.

Sahara chief, Roy was sent to jail on 4 May 2014, for not complying with the order of the apex court. He has is currently out on parole