SC asks Sahara to hand over Aamby Valley to official receiver

The Supreme Court has rejected Sahara Group's plea for an extension of the time for the auctioning its prime real estate Aambey Valley and ordered immediate handing over the property to the receiver within 48 hours.

The apex court had given Sahara time till 15 July to pay an outstanding amount of Rs552 to vacate the auction order. However, with Sahara failing to comply with its order, the CJI said there were hundreds of matters listed in the Supreme Court daily and if the orders were passed like this, then the SC cannot function.

The Sahara group has given a part of the money to Sebi that was being parked in the SEBI-Sahara Refund Account.

On August 10, the apex court had declined the plea of Sahara chief Subrata Roy to put on hold the auction of Aamby Valley and allowed the liquidator to go ahead with the auction.

The SC also ordered the official receiver at the Bombay High Court to take over the management of luxury township Aamby Valley, amid fear of encroachment and the possibility of not finding any bidder for it.

The move will end control and possession of the Sahara group over the Rs37,000-crore property, spread across 43 sq km off Lonavla, on the Mumbai-Pune Highway.

The official receiver will take possession of the property for better upkeep and maintenance and will not act as the earlier-appointed official liquidator who was appointed by the court to conduct the auction of the township.

''The duty of the receiver is to see the valuation is not reduced and the property is maintained,'' the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and judges Ranjan Gogoi and A K Sikri said.

The Supreme Court ordered the auction of Amby Valley earlier this year, after the Sahara group failed to pay the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) sums due under the court's 2012 order.

The SC had originally ordered Sahara India Real Estate and Sahara Housing Invest Corp to refund Rs24,029 crore raised from 29.6 million investors, along with an interest of 15 per cent. Sahara initially repaid only Rs5,120 crore and claimed the rest was refunded to the investors directly.

The court rejected Sahara's claims and sent group chief Subrata Roy to Delhi's Tihar jail in 2014 (See: Sahara chief stuck in jail as SC puts off hearing).