New Revised Statement of Advocate Gautam Awasthi on 28th November 2014

The Saharas had filed applications seeking permission of the Hon’ble Supreme Court for taking over of the loan of Bank of China relating to three foreign properties. The Saharas will also be raising a loan of US$650 million on the foreign properties for being utilized for the payment in SEBI-Sahara Refund Account in compliance of the order dated 26.3.2014.

The court, on the insistence of SEBI, has asked Saharas to show the ESCROW agreement with respect to the junior loan of US$650 million and once SEBI gives a no objection and the money is transferred in the ESCROW account, the Hon’ble Court will permit the taking over of the loan from Bank of China and raising of the junior loan.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court was also shown the agreements of sale with respect to domestic properties. The SEBI, however, has sought time to submit its response regarding the proposed sale of domestic properties at Chomma, Jodhpur, Vasai and Pune.

The Saharas have demonstrated that in addition to Rs 3,117 crore already deposited, the balance amount for compliance of the order dated 26.3.2014 have been arranged and once necessary permissions are granted by the court, the money will reach SEBI in a phased manner. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has now listed the matter for Tuesday, 2nd December 2014.

Gautam Awasthi

Advocate        

Suresh Raina Joins ‘U P Wizards’ - the Hero Hockey India League’s Lucknow Franchise


Lucknow, 17 November 2014: Mr. Suresh Raina, the ace cricketer, today joined the Hockey India League (HIL) franchise team - Uttar Pradesh Wizards as its co-owner. The announcement of his association was made by Mr. Abhijit Sarkar of Uttar Pradesh Wizards in an event held at Sahara Shaher, Lucknow in the presence of Mr. Suresh Raina. Born in Ghaziabad, Mr. Raina has represented Uttar Pradesh at all levels in cricket.

Speaking on the announcement of the association with Uttar Pradesh Wizards,
Mr. Suresh Raina said, “It is a memorable day for me because today I am immensely proud to be associated with the national sport of our country, hockey, by joining UP Wizards. On this occasion, I would also like to take the opportunity of congratulating the Indian hockey team for bringing laurels to our nation by winning gold in the Asian games after a span of sixteen years and qualifying directly to the Olympics. Uttar Pradesh is a land of world class hockey gems like Major Dhyan Chand, K.D. Singh Babu and many more to follow and since my sports college days in Lucknow, I have a lot of friends who are hockey players and this further boosts up my pleasure of my association with hockey. I will make all possible endeavours and bring all sorts of support required for uplifting the game of hockey in the region.”

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Abhijit Sarkar of Uttar Pradesh Wizards said, “Hockey is our national game and we are proud owner of UP Wizards. We are sure that association of Mr. Suresh Raina will make hockey more popular in the state and will attract more fan following for this sport. We will achieve greater laurels and success in the sport of hockey in the coming years and we are committed to the development of sports at all levels in the country.”

Speaking on the announcement, Ms. Elena Norman, CEO, Hockey India League said “Hockey India League welcomes Suresh Raina as the co-owner of Uttar Pradesh Wizards. It’s an honor to see cricket legends coming forward to support world’s only Hockey League and we are confident that the 3rd edition of Hero Hockey India League will take the excitement and expectations a notch higher, not only through the high adrenaline games but even the kind of association that it is garnering.”

Recently, the captain of Indian Cricket Team, Mr. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has also got associated with the Ranchi franchise team of Hockey India League as its co-owner. Hockey India League is world’s most prominent hockey league and is providing a world class platform to young Indian sporting talents of this great game by giving them an opportunity to nurture their skills under the supervision of talented and veteran sportsmen.

RBI, SEBI and ROC come under CBI scanner in Saradha chit-fund scam

Kolkata: Investigation into the multi-crore Saradha chit-fund scam is likely to tighten the noose around senior officials of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and SEBI. Reports suggest that CBI will soon examine some RBI, SEBI and ROC officials in connection with the Saradha ponzi scam.
 
"The examination will be aimed at understanding the circumstances and seeking clarification about documents," an official said.
 
A report in
 The Indian Express says that the investigating agency has mentioned the role of senior officials of SEBI, ROC, and RBI in the scam.
 
It is pertinent to point out that CBI has already examined two executive directors and one ex-executive director of SEBI during its probe into the scam.
 
The agency has already filed a 25-page charge sheet along with annexures containing the names of three accused - Sudipta Sen, Debjani Mukherjee and Kunal Ghosh, the last being a suspended TMC Rajya Sabha MP who had worked with Sen, the Saradha founder.

MS Dhoni is the new Franchisee owners for Ranchi team of Hero Hockey India League alongwith Sahara India Pariwar

Names the team ‘Ranchi Rays’


Ranchi, 25 October 2014: Hockey India League today announced Captain of India Cricket Team, MS Dhoni in support of Sahara India Pariwar as the new franchisee owners for the Ranchi team. Coining the team Ranchi Rays, MS Dhoni was himself present for the announcement conference held in Ranchi today alongwith Mr. Abhijit Sarkar, Head-Corporate Communications, Sahara India Pariwar & Director - Sahara Adventures Sports Ltd and Dr. Narinder Batra, Chairman, Hockey India League.

Speaking on the announcement Hero Hockey India League Chairman Dr. Narinder Batra said, “This is a great moment for Hockey India League to have MS Dhoni on board as a franchisee owner of the world’s most prominent hockey league alongwith Sahara India Pariwar. This initiative by Sahara India Pariwar showcases the faith that they have in Hero Hockey India League and I am happy by the kind of support that the League is garnering from all quarters. This development also shows the advancement of the HHIL where reputed corporate and sports promoters are coming together to take Indian hockey at a new level altogether.”

Speaking on owning the Ranchi Franchise of HHIL, MS Dhoni said, “Today I am very happy to own the franchisee of Ranchi Team in the Hockey India League. I was always interested to do something for this region and I want to see also that hockey should be uplifted from the grassroot level. I have got this franchisee with the support of Sahara India Pariwar, one of the prime promoter and patron of sports in India.”

Speaking on co-owning Ranchi Rays, Mr Abhijit Sarkar, Head-Corporate Communications, Sahara India Pariwar & Director-Sahara Adventures Sports Ltd said, “Hockey is our national game and we are proud to be associated with Ranchi franchisee and are elated to continue our patronage and support for the game. We will achieve greater laurels and success in the sport of hockey in the coming years and Sahara India Pariwar is committed to the development of sport at all levels.”

Also, Mr. Arun Pandey, CMD, Rhiti Sports added, “MS Dhoni has supported every sport and hockey is another sport which is close to Mahi’s heart. When this opportunity came, Mahi quickly accepted it as he always wants to do something for his state and country. This is an indeed way to uplift hockey in his state which is our national game. We have long term plans to uplift hockey at grassroot level.”

Subsequent to his association with ISL, MS Dhoni continues his support towards other sports beyond being the captain of the Indian Cricket team and Sahara India Pariwar who already own the Lucknow team in the League will now co-own the Ranchi team from this edition of the Hockey India League.

Sebi fails to find investors, Sahara case gets complicated

NEW DELHI: With Sebi failing to find the investors of two Sahara funds — Sahara India Real Estate Corp (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp (SHICL) — the strange case against Sahara chief Subrata Roy and two Sahara directors has turned stranger. Sebi's case rests on its claim that Sahara has not refunded Rs 20,000 crore of investor money. And yet, despite advertisements in papers and other strenuous efforts, the market regulator has not been able to find investors of more than Rs 10 crore. 

This can mean only one of two things — either bulk of the Sahara investors are fictitious entities or the claim of Sahara that it has already repaid 90% of investors of these two funds is true. If the Sahara investors are fictitious, Sebi doesn't really have a role as it is mandated to deal with real investors, and some other agency should look into the case. And if Sahara's claim of having repaid its investors is true, Subrata Roy and the two directors shouldn't be in jail. 

From the very start, Sahara has maintained that most of its investors are relatively poor people from the rural hinterland — people who have been excluded by the banking system so far, and who can be detected only with the help of Sahara agents. Consequently, it has offered Sebi the help of its network of agents to reach Sahara investors. It says that only by reaching these investors, it can be determined whether these investors have been paid back their money. 

Sebi has so far not been impressed by Sahara's offer and tried to find the alleged investors on its own. Nor has the court felt that the modus offered by Sahara was necessary to determine whether these investors are real or not, and if real, whether they have been paid back their money. Now that Sebi's advertisements have failed, the court might have no option but to try out what Sahara has been suggesting. 

Otherwise, the logjam over Roy's imprisonment — now for seven months — is unlikely to clear. While like all businessmen, he's averse to any distress sale of his assets to raise Rs 10,000 crore — the bail pre-condition imposed by the Supreme Court — the case against him would appear to be rather doubtful if there's no investor to whom this large amount is to be returned. 

Some in the legal fraternity have questioned the legality of Roy's continued detention. Now politicians like Manohar Parrikar are also expressing their disquiet. A resolution to the impasse is desirable not just because Roy is in jail, but also because Sahara is the employer of around a lakh people. His continued imprisonment could cripple the company and jeopardize these jobs. 

4,600 Sahara investors claim refund from Sebi

NEW DELHI: Around 4,600 investors in two Sahara group companies have come forward to claim refunds from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), which had asked those who had purchased bonds issued by the entities to claim their money. Sources familiar with the development told TOI that the average claim is to the tune of Rs 20,000, resulting in a total demand of under Rs 10 crore.

The low demand will bolster Sahara's argument before courts that it had repaid most of the investors who had come forward to claim the investment they had made in bonds issued by two group companies — Sahara India Real Estate Corp (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp (SHICL).

In August, 
Sebi had asked investors to submit refund applications with documentary proof by September 30. The regulator has begun the process of issuing refunds, the sources said.


Sebi and Sahara have been involved in a bitter battle over the past few years, related to alleged irregular fund-raising to the tune of Rs 24,000 crore from three crore investors.

Sahara has maintained that it has cleared over 90% of the outstanding amount and paid directly to the bondholders, and the remaining amount added up to around Rs 2,500 crore. Following SC orders, it had deposited Rs 5,120 crore to Sebi in December 2012, while another Rs 3,100 crore was deposited this June.

Sahara chief Subrata Roy has been in Tihar Jail for the past six months after the company failed to raise the Rs 10,000 crore required to secure the bail, which the court is insisting on to repay investors.

The company has tried to sell and mortgage its iconic hotel properties in the US and UK but the efforts are yet to bear fruit. Roy was given permission to use a temporary facility in the jail premises to pursue sale of the hotels but has now been ordered to return to barracks.

Sebi had earlier sought to get the list of investors but made little headway as a truckload of documents reached its Mumbai office. It had also tried to contact investors directly earlier as well but got few responses.

Legal debate over Subrata Roy's detention gathers pace

NEW DELHI: It's been over six months that Subrata Roy, the flamboyant chief of Sahara, has been in Delhi's Tihar jail. In the meantime, the hopes of his release have risen and ebbed. And as the days go by, it is becoming uncertain when he will be able to furnish Rs 10,000 crore to Sebi — a pre-condition set by the Supreme Court for his release. 

Company sources say that it's not that the company doesn't have the money. The issue is Roy's current predicament. "The entire world knows that he's being forced to make distress sales to raise this amount and so he is getting badly discounted offers for his valuable overseas properties. Now, which businessman wants to sell his jewels at throwaway prices," said a company executive. 

Roy's case — and along with him that of two other Sahara directors, Ashok Roy Choudhury and R S Dubey — has few parallels. Technically, Rs 10,000 crore is not a bail amount; bail was granted to him five months ago, but it came with the pre-condition of him paying Rs 10,000 crore for his release. Legal experts say this is an extraordinary pre-condition. 

There is also lack of clarity about the charges that have been slapped against Roy and the two Sahara directors. If it is contempt of court — Roy refused to appear before the Supreme Court on the given date citing his mother's illness — he has already served the maximum punishment of six months prescribed for the offence. 

"The question to be debated is whether there is a reasonable limit for how long someone can be incarcerated under the present circumstances — or if the six-month limit prescribed under the Contempt of Courts Act applies here," said Gopal Sankaranarayanan, senior advocate, Supreme Court. 

Article 21 of the Constitution deals with an individual's personal liberty. It states, "No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law." 

Some feel that this Article is being violated. Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, "Although currently I am not arguing the case, in my professional opinion, the continued incarceration may well be held to be a violation of his right to life under Article 21 (of Constitution of India) and a fit ground for a curative petition." 

These legal points aside, it is now clear that Roy — about whom company executives say was not an original respondent in this case — will have to pay the amount as ordered by the Supreme Court. The question is whether he should be kept in prison until he coughs up with Rs 10,000 crore, or should he be released with due safeguards, allowed to negotiate the best terms for sale of assets, and told to pay the amount within a set deadline. 

Roy has been in Tihar jail, under judicial custody, since March 4 this year. In early August, Roy was given a 10 working days to negotiate sale or lease of Sahara group's hotel properties to raise the Rs 10,000-crore bail amount. According to people within the group, he has been making 'relentless efforts to sell the properties' in order to meet the criterion set forth by the apex court, 'which shows his bonafide intention to comply with the orders passed by the court'.