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'.