Sebi orders attachment of Saradha properties to recover Rs774 cr

Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has ordered attachment of 134 properties of the erstwhile Saradha Group and its chairman, Sudipta Sen, to recover investors' dues to the tune of over Rs774 crore.

Sebi has ordered attachment of properties, including land parcels, buildings, flats, resorts, as also some ''movable assets'' held by the defaulters, including Saradha Realty India and its managing director Sudipta Sen.

These include 120 land parcels in West Bengal as also 14 assets such as properties of Saradha Landmark Cement, Lincoln High School as also flats and resorts.

''It is learnt that the defaulters are in possession of the properties and it is also felt that they may dispose or transfer or alienate the assets with a view to obstruct or delay the recovery proceedings, which needs to be prevented immediately by attaching the said assets,'' Sebi stated in an order dated 24 September 2015.

The assets, attachments orders for which have been issued, are located across the districts of Malda, South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Purba Mednipur, Cooch Behar, and Murshidabad, among others.

''All persons are hereby prohibited from taking any benefit under such disposal, transfer, alienation or charge in respect of the properties mentioned above, which stand attached in execution of the Recovery Certificate,'' Sebi said in its order.

In June this year, the market regulator had ordered attachment of bank accounts and demat accounts of Sardha Realty and Sudipta Sen. However, funds available from these accounts were not sufficient to recover the dues.

The Saradha Group that went bust in April 2013, was involved in various money collection and deposit taking schemes – ranging from Rs10,000 to Rs100,000 for 15 months to 120 months, with a promise of returns of 12-24 per cent – in West Bengal and the neighbouring states of Bihar, Tripura and Assam.

After the group went defunct and failed to pay investors' dues, Sebi in an order that month (April 2013) ordered the Kolkata-based Saradha Realty India to close all its collective schemes and refund the money collected from investors within three months. Besides, the company and its chief were also barred from the markets.

The scam has seen high-profile arrests like that of the new suspended Trinamool MP, Kunal Ghosh (who headed Saradha's media ventures); Madan Mitra, West Bengal's minister for transport and sports apart from that of Sudipta Sen.