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While dismissing Sahara group's plea, the SAT said Since the Supreme Court has already given a specific direction in the matter the appeals before the Tribunal have become infructuous
Mumbai: A plea seeking extension of deadline for submission of investor documents by two Sahara group companies to market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) was dismissed today by the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT), as the Supreme Court has already given specific directions in this high-profile case, reports PTI.
"Since the Supreme Court has already given a specific direction in the matter, the appeals before this Tribunal have become infructuous," SAT said in its order and dismissed the appeal.
"In any case, since the time limit for submitting the documents to the Board (SEBI) has been specified by the Supreme Court, any request for extension of such time should also be made before the Apex Court and not before this Tribunal," said the SAT order.
The appeal was filed on 19th November by Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) and Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL), after they failed to submit the investor documents to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) within a deadline of 10th November set by a Supreme Court order of 31st August.
The appeals, seeking extension of time till 31st January for submission of investor documents to SEBI, were listed today for "admission" before the SAT.
However, the Tribunal observed that the appeal has become infructuous in light of the specific directions from the Supreme Court on 5th December, wherein the companies were asked to submit the investor documents to SEBI within 15 days. The period ended today.
Sources said Sahara group has despatched nearly 80-truck load of investor documents to SEBI, as also their details in the electronic format.
These documents include details of those investors as well to whom the group claims to have already made the outstanding payments. SEBI needs to verify the genuineness of all the investors before facilitating any refund to them.
SEBI would examine the documents for all the investors, whose number is estimated at around three crore, including those whose outstanding payments are claimed to have been cleared by the group.
SAT has said, "During the pendency of these appeals, the appellants had approached this Tribunal with another appeal praying that the respondent Board (SEBI) may be directed to accept pay order amounting to Rs5,120 crores for repaying the amount to the OFCD subscribers.
"The said appeal was dismissed by this Tribunal as premature and not maintainable. The appellant had thereafter approached the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court by its order dated 5 December 2012, has already extended the time for filing the documents in support of the refund made to any person, as claimed by the appellant, by a period of 15 days."
The Tribunal further said, "Since we are dismissing the appeals as infructuous, we are not going into the issue of maintainability as argued by the respondent Board."
In their other appeal filed on 19th November, the two firms had sought deposit of outstanding investor repayments with the registrar of SAT. However, this appeal was dismissed by the tribunal on 29th November.
Thereafter, the two companies had approached the Supreme Court against the SAT order. After hearing their appeal, the Supreme Court on 5th December directed the two companies to refund the outstanding payments to the investors with 15% interest in phases in nine weeks.
While the companies were asked to make an immediate payment of Rs5,120 crore, the court also asked them to pay the first instalment of Rs10,000 crore by the first week of January and the remaining by the first week of February.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir also directed Sahara Group to supply the documents relating to investors within 15 days and warned that failure to fulfil its directive on payment of the money to SEBI will lead to attachment of assets.
The two Sahara group companies have claimed that as per the certificate of the statutory auditor, the outstanding liability of both the firms towards the outstanding OFCDs (Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures) was only Rs2,620 crore as on 30 November 2012. It has also submitted a buffer amount of Rs2,500 crore subject to certain verification of some pending/continuing at the company's end.
SEBI has already asked various banks to provide it all account details of the Sahara group as well as their promoters and directors, and has also sought help from RBI, ED and Financial Intelligence Unit as part of its inspection process to identify the genuine investors and refund their money.
SEBI has also written to Sahara group to furnish the details of bank accounts and properties held by them so as to enable it to take recourse to appropriate legal remedies as per the Supreme Court directions.
The regulator has also written to "NABARD, Enforcement Directorate, Central Economic Intelligence Committee, RBI and Financial Intelligence requesting them to share with SEBI any material/information in their possession about the Sahara group of Companies, more particularly SIRECL and SHICL".