After spending 22 days behind the bars, Subrata Roy has been granted bail on a condition that Sahara group deposits Rs10,000 crore with SEBI
The Supreme Court, while granting conditional bail to Subrata Roy, has asked the Sahara group to deposit Rs5,000 crore with market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and also provide bank guarantees for another Rs5,000 crore. After spending 22 days behind the bars, Roy has been granted bail on a condition that Sahara group deposits Rs10,000 crore, half of it in cash, with SEBI.
The apex court also agreed to defreeze bank accounts of Sahara group companies to raise Rs10,000 crore. The case is adjourned for Thursday and Sahara is asked to furnish its bank account numbers which are to be defreezed.
During the hearing on Tuesday, the Sahara group offered to pay the market regulator Rs20,000 crore within next 12 months. This is the money, two Sahara group companies collected from investors through optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCD).
In a fresh proposal to the bench of Justices KS Radhakrishnan and JS Kehar, the Sahara group had said they will deposit with SEBI Rs2,500 crore within three working days of the acceptance of its proposal and three instalments of Rs3,500 crore each on 30th June, 30th September and 31 December 2014. The balance Rs7,000 crore would be deposited 31 March 2015, the group said.
The Sahara group said its proposal to deposit Rs20,000 crore to the market regulator in five instalments would be backed by an irrevocable bank guarantee.
Should we really prevent the government from announcing and acting on matters that have been going on for some time or simply postpone it and take a vacation from work till the elections are over?
The elections are scheduled to take place from 7th April and the process is spread over a month, with the full results being completed by end of May. The world's largest successfully operating democracy goes to polls and the whole world is watching its outcome. Will it be a hung house? Will the party in power lose and give way to a new change in political direction that will lead India? All these remain to be seen in the next 45 days.
In the meantime, we appear to be heading for all sorts of self-inflicted troubles. The first major blow, as far as the industry is concerned, relates to whether or not the revised gas prices outlined by the Oil Ministry months ago, scheduled to be effective from 1st April, comes into effect or not. Apparently, there are different views on the subject, including the reported statement that the matter is sub-judice and so, no one would like to cross the path with the Honourable Court. We are law abiding citizens.
However, according to the press, Moily, the Oil Minister is reported to have said that this is an on going process, where the issue of revision of gas prices, at the expiry of the existing contract, and which has been subject to debates and discussions actually cannot be stopped, because of the sanctity of the contract. Such a move would sound alarm signals to international business leaders who will hesitate to come in and invest. We now have to look for further guidance in the matter.
In a similar matter, the question of inviting private and public institutions to obtain new banking licence has been going on for almost nine months now. The bids closed on 1st July last year and a former governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Bimal Jalan, and his team have spent months on scrutinising the applicants, before submitting the recommendations to the RBI. Here again, the major change made relates to corporate houses being allowed to apply, a deviation from the past, and now, as the elections are due, there is this fear that the announcement may be put on hold, if the Election Commission (EC) decides that the same may influence the electorate. There is the hint that the lucky corporate houses may be "tempted" to finance the parties, particularly the ruling, as they "may" have influenced the decision. This is an unfair assumption as the norms have been laid and a professional team of bankers have scrutinised the applicants.
The next issue is related with the Ministry of Commerce. The Ministry is on tenterhooks and jittery that the foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals relating to entry in Railways and Construction may also have to face a similar "ban" till the elections are over!
In a similar fashion, it may be mentioned that, according to the existing Foreign Exhange Management Act (FEMA), regulations do not permit the use of FDI funds to buy farm land. In the past, real estate companies have tried to bypass these restrictions.
The point at stake is that should we really prevent the government from announcing and acting on matters that have been going on for sometime or simply postpone the functions of the government and take a vacation from work till the elections are over? Don't we have interim budget, and let the new government take over the actual functions when they come to power?
Only those issues that are in the court of law should not be touched because they would, in real sense, be construed to be under their purview, and so to be classified as sub-judice. Other matters which have not been referred to the Courts may be allowed to carry on the work, in the normal fashion.
We reiterate that we are law abiding citizens and a clarification on these issues would put our mind to rest till the elections are over.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)
The new rules for CSR have been notified. Here are some essential details
A few months...