A magistrate today issued fresh summons to two Sahara Group firms and their top executives, including the organisation chief Subrata Roy, asking them to appear on September 30 in connection with the alleged violation of regulations of Companies Act and Sebi Act.
The court had earlier taken cognisance of the case filed by SEBI and issued summons but no report was filed regarding service of summons (by Sebi) to the respondents, following which the court issued fresh summons against them.
The order came on a day when SEBI made a forceful plea in the Supreme Court today to take contempt action against Subrata Roy along with his two firms and their directors for not complying with its order for refunding Rs 24,000 crore to investors.
The magistrate had on July 7 taken cognisance of SEBI's complaint and issued process against the two companies Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHICL) and their top officials under various sections of the Companies Act and the Sebi Act.
The relevant sections of the Companies Act deal with matters related to disclosures made in the prospectus or issue of shares or debentures, criminal liability for mis-statements in prospectus, penalty for fraudulently inducing persons to invest money and penalty for false statements.
Sebi had begun a probe in 2008 after it received complaints alleging that SIRECL and SHICL were issuing convertible bonds to the public throughout the country without complying with the applicable statutory requirements.
It was later found that the two companies had raised funds amounting to close to Rs 25,000 crore by allotting Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures (OFCD) to more than 3 crore investors without following various statutory and regulatory requirements stipulated under the Companies Act and the relevant Sebi regulations.
Subsequently, Sebi passed an order in 2011, directing the two companies and their promoters and directors to repay the amount raised through OFCDs to the investors along with a 15 per cent interest.
The order was challenged by the companies but it was upheld by the Securities Appellate Tribunal in October 2011 and by the Supreme Court in August 2012.
The apex court had also directed these companies to deposit the money with Sebi for further repayment to the investors. So far, SIRECL and SHICL have deposited only Rs 5,120 crore with Sebi. The regulator has initiated the process of refund to genuine investors out of the money deposited by these firms.
The firms claimed they have already refunded over Rs 20,000 crore to the investors directly and their total outstanding liability is less than Rs 5,120 crore deposited with Sebi.