image courtesy:Free Press Journal

In an earlier hearing on the dispute between Sahara chief Subrata Roy and Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) over the non-payment of money to millions of investors, the Supreme Court had warned Sahara that if the company failed to deposit Rs 5,000 crore, the court would auction the Aamby Valley property.

A three- judge bench presided over by Justice Dipak Misra also appointed Bombay HC as the official liquidator for auction of Sahara’s Aamby Valley properties in Lonawala.

The bench also directed Roy and his group as well as Sebi to provide all necessary details relating to the properties to the official liquidator within 48 hours.

“We are now inclined to go ahead with auction of Aamby Valley,” the bench, also comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and A K Sikri said, after noting Roy failed to deposit Rs 5000 cr as directed earlier.

The special bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Ranjan Gogoi, and AK Sikri was not satisfied with the recourse Sahara group was resorting to for paying the duped investors.

The Supreme Court has ordered that the Sahara’s luxurious 8,900-acre Aamby Valley City near Pune be auctioned as the group’s chief Subrata Roy has failed to deposit Rs. 5092.6 crore with markets regulator SEBI to refund investors. The property in Lonavla is valued at Rs. 39,000 crore.

Aamby Valley City is a township developed by the Sahara India Pariwar in Pune district in the Indian state of Maharashtra.It is about 23 km (14 mi) from Lonavala,87 km (54 mi) from the city of Pune and 120 km (75 mi) from the city Mumbai.

The township is also connected by air from Mumbai and is equipped with its own airstrip. It has an average annual rainfall of 4,000 mm (160 in) from June to September. The city is spread over 10,600 acres (4,300 ha) of hilly terrain.

It is one of India’s best planned city and has been a trendsetter in urban planning and environmental and landscape design . 3 large man made lakes have been created by constructing dams . The largest lake is 1.5 km in length . It also boasts of a PGA 18 hole golf course . This city was designed and master planned by Gruen -Bobby Mukherji & Associates in the year 2003.

Subrata Roy was arrested and sent to jail in 2014 along with two Sahara directors for the failure of two group companies to comply with the court’s order of 2012 to return Rs. 24,000 crore to their investors.

On Sahara counsel senior advocate Salman Khurshid’s plea that the group had got only got shares in Aamby Valley, the bench said then Roy should be ready to go to jail. The bench reminded him that he cannot now resile from his affidavit that the properties worth Rs 34,000 cr belonged to you.

“Resile from earlier undertakings only at your peril,” the bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Ranjan Gogoi and AK Sikri warned.

Besides Roy, two other directors,Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary,were arrested for failure of the group’s two companies,Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHICL),to comply with the court’s August 31, 2012 order to return Rs 24,000 crore to their investors.

However, director Vandana Bhargava was not taken into custody.

Last year in May, the Supreme Court granted a four-week parole to Mr Roy to attend the funeral of his mother. His parole has been extended by the court ever since.

The court directed for presence of Roy on April 28,the next date of hearing.