South Asian Insider
Fractured Auction of Sahara Aamby Valley Allowed
(News Agencies) New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed fractured auction of Sahara's Aamby Valley property after two attempts for international auction of the entire asset at one go failed and asked court-appointed liquidator and receiver of the property to complete the task within two months.
A bench of chief justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ranjan Gogoi and A K Sikri allowed
the proposal of selling the property in parts after liquidator and receiver told that two corporate houses—Mahindra and the Piramal Groups— had expressed interest in buying some of the assets of Aamby Valley.
Aamby Valley is Sahara's most valuable project, comprising luxury resorts, man-made lakes and an airport. A meticulously planned city with world-class infrastructure and facilities, Aamby Valley is spread over 10,000 hectares near Pune in Maharashtra. Senior advocate Darius Khambata, appearing for the receiver, told the bench that Aamby Valley was a huge property and it might not be possible to sell it at one go as no one participated in the auction process which was advertised not only in India but in other countries also. He said that there were many saleable assets within Aamby Valley, including international school, golf course, hotels and restaurants, which could be sold to raise the money which the company was to pay to SEBI. He also told the bench that movable properties, including 23 Mercedes cars and hundred other vehicles, could also be easily sold.
He said that process had already been initiated for identifying the saleable properties and the list would be prepared by the end of March.
Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for SEBI, told the bench that Sahara was still to pay Rs 11,569 crore out of Rs 25,781 crore of the principal amount to the market regulator.
Sahara's advocate Vikas Singh, pleaded the court not to put the assets under hammer and contended that the company had already refunded the money to its investors. He asked the court to direct to direct SEBI to first hold verification of investor documents and proposed to give bank guarantee for the due amount. He said that the company had already paid Rs 50 crore for digitization of the document but the market regulator was not verifying it,
The apex court, which had earlier attached Aamby Valley property, said that selling of the assets could not be stayed and gave green signal for fractured auction of the property to fetch the amount due on Sahara.
In January 2012, Sahara valued the property at Rs 34,000 crore but the liquidator has pegged its worth at Rs 43,000 crore. It had on July 25 last year allowed official liquidator, appointed by it, to auction the property under the supervision of Company Judge of Bombay HC and Justice A S Oka. Instead of monthly exercise of fixing the instalment to be paid by Sahara group, the apex court had decided to go whole hog to fetch over Rs 9,000 crore which was still to be paid by the corporate house to SEBI.
Sahara chief Subrata Roy who was arrested and spent almost two years behind bars for not paying the amount was released on May 6 last year and has been out of jail since then.
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