The apex court has asked Sahara group to hand over title deeds of properties worth Rs20,000 crore to SEBI within three weeks
The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Sahara group to handover title deeds of properties worth Rs20,000 crore to market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) within next three weeks. Failing to which, the apex court said Sahara group chief Subrato Roy and other directors will be barred from leaving the country without its permission.
"You indulge too much in hide and seek, we cannot trust you anymore. There is no escape and the money has to be paid," the apex court told Sahara.
Earlier in April, the Supreme Court while slamming the Sahara group for approaching Allahabad High Court and other forums had said, “You are manipulating courts”.
It may be recalled that Mr Roy through his advertisements had challenged SEBI to an open debate on an issue that had gone through a long legal process and where the group had used every legal forum available to it to file multiple appeals and challenges to stymie SEBI’s investigation.
On 10th April, the Sahara group chief and three of its directors, Vandana Bhargava, Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey made a personal appearance before the market regulator. However, Mr Roy continued his tirade saying that the market regulator was more worried about his personal assets than refunding the money to investors of Sahara (read more Subrata Roy continues his tirade against SEBI after personal appearance
SEBI on 13 February 2013 passed two separate orders, together running into 160 pages, directing attachment of properties and freezing of accounts. It had said that in furtherance to a Supreme Court order directing refund of investors’ money collected by the two Sahara group companies, it ordered “attachment of all moveable and immoveable properties, bank accounts and demat accounts of these two companies and that of its promoters and directors Subrata Roy, Vandana Bhargava, Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey”.
The assets ordered to be attached included those related to the group’s Aamby Valley resort town near Pune, other real estate assets in Delhi, Mumbai and at other places across the country, shares, mutual funds and various other investments.
Passing the attachment orders, SEBI had said that the two companies had raised Rs6,380 crore and Rs19,400 crore, respectively from bondholders and “various illegalities” were committed in the raising of these funds.
Here is a forensic analysis based on facts and data available about the claims of 1,000 tonnes of gold. It is logistically impossible and thus hard to establish that 1,000 tonnes of gold was retrieved from Allahabad, transported to Bithur, stored there. Again transported to Daundia Khera and allowed to rest in peace there
Early October 2013, a Hindu sanyasi Swami Shobhan Sarkar (seer), who has an Ashram at a village named as Daundia Khera in Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh (UP) had a dream that there is gold underground to be taken out.
Following are details of the dream
1. Rao Ram Baksh Singh was a Talukdar (chieftains) in Daundia Khera
2. During British raj, during and after 1857 war of independence, these chieftains either become British stooge or rebels (freedom fighters). Rao Ram Baksh Singh was one such rebel against British rule
3. As per the story told by a person close to the seer, the seer often narrates the story of a dream about the gold which was looted by some freedom fighters, led by Maulvi Liyaqat Ali, from the fort of Allahabad on 14 June 1857. Ali was a relative of the zamindars of Chail Pargana in Allahabad and also close to the talukdars of different states between Allahabad and Faizabad. He had declared major parts of Allahabad as independent from the British rule during the Mutiny of 1857. He handed over the looted gold to Nana Sahib Dhondu Pant, the adopted son of Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao II and chieftain of Bithur, to hide somewhere. When Brigadier General James George Smith Neill started searching for this gold, it was brought to Daundia Khera and buried somewhere on the campus of the fort of Rao Ram Baksh Singh. Ali was captured and awarded life imprisonment in 1872. He was sent to Port Blair jail. Rao Ram Baksh Singh was also captured by the British forces and hanged to death. "This gold was actually confiscated by the British from small Indian chieftains or collected in the form of lagaan (land tax) from farmers. This was the reason that the rebels during the Mutiny did not mind confiscating it from the fort of Allahabad," the source said
4. The dream says that the gold is 1,000 tonnes
5. Based on this background the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) started digging in the fort, at the place, described by the seer
TRUST BUT VERIFY
Some people believed the story completely, whereas some rejected it out-right doubting the veracity of dream. We are one of those, who neither believed nor disbelieved till we did some more analysis. Thus, we decided to do some scientific and forensics analysis of various elements of data, as available from various sources and try to collaborate these with stated historical facts, scientific and forensics analysis and common sense.
Here are our findings.
What Physics says
With this background, now let us do some scientific and logistic calculations and create some hypothesis and prove the/ these hypothesis for correctness of claims and counter-claims.
How much will be the volume of 1,000 tonnes gold?
The specific gravity of gold is 19.32. This means the gold is 19.32 times heavier than water at 4°C. This further means that one litre volume of gold will have a weight of 19.32 kilograms (Kg) or one metre cube of gold will have weight of 19.32 tonnes (metric tonnes).
With this basic physical fact, the total volume of 1,000 tonnes of gold will be 1,000/19.32 = 51.76 cubic metre (m3).
Now imagine that it will have 51 pieces of 1 metre x 1 metre x 1 metre with 0.76 cubic metres in hand. This means about 51.76 metre long wall of solid gold with 1 metre height and 1 metre width. Alternately, this can be viewed as 1,828 cubic feet. This means a road with a pure gold layer of 1/2 inch (12.5 mm) high, 12 feet wide and 3,656 feet (1114 metres or over one kilometre) long.
In pure solid state, this gold will occupy two rooms of 10ft x 10ft x 9ft, fully packed, without any space either between gold cubes and walls and roof. And with 28 cubic feet gold still left.
The assumption is that the gold is 24 carat pure and in solid state, and not in the form of coins, jewellery, utensils, etc. If it is in shape of round coins, the space will increase by atleast 21% to 27% depending upon configuration for storage. In case of jewellery, the volume of space required becomes 10-15 times. I checked this by visiting two jewellery show rooms in Mumbai. (names withheld at their request).
Now, just imagine, if this much of solid and pure gold is stored at the site, and ASI needed to do gold prospecting by using metal detectors and then light drilling. Why dig?
But, the above is a hypothetical condition, just to provide you an idea of volume of gold weighing 1,000 tonnes.
In reality, the gold may not be in solid state and as described above.
Based on above, it will be realistic if not optimistic, to assume the average weight of each chest as 500 Kg. With this, it comes to 2,000 chests for 1,000 tonnes. This number may vary 10%-20% on both sides depending upon the weight per chest. But, let us consider the number—2,000 chests now.
Now consider the chronology of events
Let us consider logistical requirements
If consignment was carried by road –
If the gold was carried by boats –
HYPOTHESIS - that the gold is 1,000 tonnes
Let us test the hypothesis that “the gold is 1000 tonnes”
We are not in a position to offer any alternate theory/story. Only history knows what had happened.
But, with the dream data made available by the sanyasi and other data available in public domain and as analysed above, it is logistically impossible and thus hard to establish that 1,000 tonnes of gold was retrieved from Allahabad, transported to Bithur, stored there. Again transported to Daundia Khera and allowed to rest in peace there, without any people, except Rao Ram Baksh Singh and Maulvi Liyakat Ali and Nana Saheb knowing it.
We have another hypothesis that some amount (somewhere, between few hundred kilos to few tonnes) of Gold was retrieved from Allahabad and transported to Bithur and then to Daundia Khera. Else why Neill would have come in search of gold? The quantity has to be very much lower than 1,000 tonnes as claimed by seer.
If people in the area do not know about it and only a few knows then it may be maximum few chests, which can be carted on horses with or without human or travelled in few bullock carts covered with grain or lighter material. Grain also has weight, thus the weight of gold reduces per cart. May be due to this reason, Neill has also not searched more deeply at Daundia Khera as stakes were not high.
How does 1,000 tonnes of gold compare with well known structures?
Total weight of Eiffel Tower (Paris) is – 7,000 tonnes of steel
Total weight of Boeing 747-200B Jumbo jet – 165 tonnes
Weight of largest whale – 200 tonnes
Elephant weighs – 10-20 tonnes
Total weight of Statue of Liberty, NY – 225 tonnes (made of copper)
(Due to difference in density between gold and steel, 17,175 tonnes of Gold will be required to build Eiffel Tower of pure gold. Technically, Eiffel Tower of gold can not stand due to softness of gold)
(About the authors –
Rakesh Goyal is PhD in Cyber Security; MBA from IIM-Bangalore and AMIE (Mech. Engineering). He has earned certificates - CISA, CISM, CFE, CCCI, CMC and Chartered Engineer.
He is an IT consulting entrepreneur since 1985 as MD of Sysman Computers P Ltd, Mumbai, a CERT-In and CCA empanelled firm (www.sysman.in). He is also the Director General of 'Center for Research and Prevention of Cyber Crimes'. Before that, he worked with BHEL, WIPRO and MNC Bank between 1972 and 1985.
Pallavi Goyal is BE from Mumbai University. She is certified as CCNA and ISO27001 LA. She has been active in Cyber Security consulting specially in Web-application and network security for over three years. She has done Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing of over 200 web and other applications and over 10 networks. She has been working with Sysman Computers Private Limited for last 3 years and assisted Rakesh Goyal in many forensics assignments.