The Sahara Group has thanked the Supreme Court for lifting the freeze on its moveable and immovable assets so that it can raise the Rs 10,000 crore for part payment of dues, but also said it had repaid the bulk of money owed to investors.

“We are very thankful we got clearance of bank accounts and certain select properties,” Sudeep Seth, Sahara’s lawyer, said in a statement on the behalf of the group after the Supreme Court gave it the go-ahead Wednesday for sale of its assets in India.

“However, the fact remains that Sahara has already repaid 93 per cent of the investors, mostly in cash, and has submitted all repayment vouchers receipts and other documents in original with SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India), which SEBI has to verify.”

The group said the actual repayment that was pending amounted to just Rs 2,500 crore and that there was not even a single complaint against Sahara. The group also claimed that Rs 5,600 crore of its money was already lying with the markets watchdog.

“Of course, all the money shall ultimately come back to Sahara after verifications.”

De-freezing the assets of Sahara on Wednesday, an apex court bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice A.K. Sikri also directed that the money so generated would have to be deposited in an account opened by the regulator.

Soon after the judgment, senior counsel Srinivasan Ganesh asked the court to grant five days’ parole to Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy to be with his ailing mother. The court asked him to file an application and said it will pass an order after the regulator’s reply.

“Today, we are reassured of justice in the Indian judiciary. Over the last 37 years, we have always been given justice on merit. We are reassured that the Indian judiciary can never go wrong,” Sahara lawyer Seth said.

“From November 2013, all of group’s bank accounts, every inch of immovable properties and movable properties were frozen and were under an embargo of the Hon’ble Court and SEBI,” he said.

“As a result, Sahara was not in a position to get or raise even Rs 100. The question is as to why Rs 5,000 crore cash plus Rs 5,000 crore bank guarantee bail order was given without lifting any embargo,” he said, referring to Roy’s quantum of the bail amount.

Seth also said the demand of Rs 20,000 crore plus interest imposed on the group to be paid to the regulator was tantamount fo Sahara being asked to pay twice for a single liability — and that, too, for one that had substantially been repaid.

“No financial institution can repay twice for one liability.”

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Two days ago, some 24 hours after Sahara’s Subrata Roy was arrested at the command of the Supreme Court, I had an interesting phone conversation with a Sahara depositor. This was someone who was not just made a deposit with Sahara in the past, but was planning to do so again soon. He knows many people who are regular Sahara depositors. He had a form with him for two schemes. One of them offered a gain of 10% for a tenure of one year, and the other, a gain of 40% for a deposit period of 48 months.

That’s also about 10%. There are several things here that those who are acquainted with the Sahara affair only through TV and newspapers would find surprising. One, there is still financial business being conducted under the Sahara brand. This example is from Jharkhand, and not from a small town either. Two, there are people who are still willing to deposit money with Sahara. This particular depositor is an educated man who has access to the entire range of financial instruments.

Three, I think there are at least some media commentators who would be surprised that there is any such thing as a Sahara depositor. And four, those who’ll try to think through this thing will see that 10% per annum is hardly an outsize or a Ponzi-like return being offered.

So why are people still willing to deposit money with Sahara? As far as I can see, simply because they started doing so in the past and the experience has not been negative. They did so in the past, got their money back with the promised returns and it just goes on, even when they have access to alternatives.

One thing about Sahara, which is getting lost in the excitement about the legal tricks that the Sahara group has been playing with Sebi and RBI, is that there is a real savings and investments business that exists. This business is likely to be illegal now, likely to be declining, it may be wrapped up in a larger money-laundering scheme, and its scale may be smaller than the claims of Sahara.

However, there really are a large number of depositors who use Sahara’s services and have done so for years, even decades. This is something that anyone who has first-hand familiarity with life in small towns of the Hindi belt can vouch for. This business still exists. When, in 2008, RBI asked Sahara to wind up this business, it should have done so in a law-abiding manner. However, it didn’t and RBI failed to detect that it didn’t.

Currently, there is a lot of noise being made about the interests of depositors by various authorities and the media. However, the actual focus and the actions do not have the depositors’ interests at heart. One reason is that there is a certain belief that these depositors don’t exist, that Sahara is entirely a money-laundering scheme.

This simply isn’t true. To my mind, the most important question today is what is the real base of investors and if there are enough assets backing their deposits. The long period over which Sahara has existed and the reasonable returns it offers make it unlikely that it’s an out-and-out ponzi scheme like Saradha in Bengal and so many others.

However, there may well be some shortfall in assets. Sahara may be a rogue financial institution. And if the rogue part of that description is true, but so is the financial institution part. The most important thing today is to provide a safe exit to real depositors. The cat and mouse game of the so-called Sahara Shri will no doubt continue to entertain all of us for a while. However, someone needs to pay some attention to the real small depositors.

By: Dhirendra Kumar CEO, Value Research


Sahara group, whose legal battle with Sebi continues in Supreme Court over refund of over Rs 20,000 crore to investors, has made a surprise announcement of plans being afoot to hire over 56,000 new employees this year along with investments to the tune of nearly Rs 32,400 crore.

In three-page newspaper advertisements, the group has invited applications for senior positions across business verticals within and outside country and said that these more than 56,000 new jobs need to be filled by the end of 2014.

In three-page newspaper advertisements, the group has invited applications for senior positions across business verticals within and outside country and said that these more than 56,000 new jobs need to be filled by the end of 2014.

At the same time, it has also claimed that the group, which calls itself Sahara India Pariwar, is “committed to creating four lakh salaried positions in next three years”.

The businesses for which job applications have been invited include FMCG & retail, dairy, poultry, luxury real estate and lifestyle, food factory, low-cost housing, CSR, education and even cruises (Sahara Water Homes).

The businesses for which job applications have been invited include FMCG & retail, dairy, poultry, luxury real estate and lifestyle, food factory, low-cost housing, CSR, education and even cruises (Sahara Water Homes).

Besides job details, the group also disclosed specific investment targets for at least four business verticals and these investments total to an amount of Rs 32,394 crore.

For its ‘Luxury Retail: Sahara Global Master craft Ltd’ business, the group said that an investment of Rs 1,400 crore would be made over five years, while Rs 5,172 crore would be invested in Food & Beverages and Entertainment: QSR (Quick Service Restaurants).

Its ‘International Business: Macedonia (Europe)’ business is expected to see an investment of Rs 13,922 crore in dairy project and Rs 9,600 crore in hospitality project.

Further, healthcare would seen an investment of Rs 2,300 crore for 5-7 years, according to the public notice.

The group also claimed a huge asset base with a market value of “Rs 1, 52,518 crore” and a land bank of 36,631 acres.

This massive recruitment drive comes at a time when the group is caught in a legal battle with Sebi, which had charged it of raising over Rs 24,000 crore through various “illegalities” in issuance of certain bonds through two firms.

These two firms — Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIREC) and Sahara India Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHIC)– were asked to refund the money to investors, while the Supreme Court also asked the group to comply with Sebi orders.

Sahara group later deposited Rs 5,120 crore with Sebi and claimed that it was way above the outstanding amount due to be returned to investors as more than Rs 20,000 crore were already refunded directly.

The Supreme Court has refused to allow Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy to leave the country till the companies provide details of refunding Rs 20,000 crore to investors.

The apex court last week asked the group to furnish all the documents to reveal the source of Rs 22,885 crore which it claims to have refunded to the investors.

Besides, the group was directed to place all documents including the bank statements sought by Sebi before February 11 when the court would take up the case for further hearings.

For the sport of volleyball, I personally feel that it has not been recognized nearly enough on a global-sized scale. So many other sports such as tennis, polo, shooting and archery have all been quite recognized around the planet but volleyball seems to be in the lack. This might just be my own personal bias because I am a hardcore fan of the sport of volleyball, but I am praying this can all really change. When I see promoters out there who appear to be supporting everything but volleyball I am left to ask, “Why is this the case?”

I was very encouraged one day when I was doing some online research and came across the name Sahara India Pariwar. They are a huge Indian corporation worth billions of dollars and it appears that they are very passionate about India and the future direction of its sporting events. The information I was reading stated that Sahara India Pariwar had vowed to boost and contribute financially to Indian Volleyball by supporting the Men’s National Teams for both the Juniors and Seniors for a span of up to four years. The Managing Worker for Sahara said of his decision, “We see lot of scope to develop the game of Volleyball and therefore we have come forward to lend our support to the National Teams (Senior and Junior) on the eve of Olympic 2012 so that these talented athletes are motivated to perform better to bring more laurels to the Nation.”

Finally I was overjoyed to see such an organization step up with hopes to do the game of volleyball a bit more justice. The Volleyball Federation of India’s President also shared his appreciation and encouragement and felt confident that this partnership would encourage their boys towards improved performances which in turn would provide the opportunity for them to be a part of the Qualifiers and other World Championships. With the set-up and operation of how Sahara India Pariwar promotes its relationships, I can certainly realize the enthusiasm behind all parties involved.

Sahara India Pariwar not only gets involved with sporting events on national levels but they furthermore coordinate a sports meet for one week within their business on annual basis. It is an all-India sporting meet for every Sahara personnel member throughout the Bharat Parva celebrations in India. The meet entails the involvement of different players from each regional workplace which are in assorted channels of sports like hockey, badminton, cricket, chess, table tennis and other athletics.

The Sahara Sports Academy is also an interesting subject on its own. The company has built upon 150 acres of land and spent nearly $65 million (US) on India’s greatest indoor and outdoor sporting facility. Not only does it provide elite sports training but other education to its athletes such as sports medicine, sports science, sponsorship and a lot more.

I can certainly see why many Indians would now aspire to be professional athletes when they have an empire like Sahara India Pariwar to back them as sponsors.

Any Olympic Games fan- especially from India – would be very pleased at the achievements that came from the Summer Olympic Games of 2012 in London, England. What I found very fitting was that those medal winners were also separately recognized for their wonderful efforts put into making India proud. The very influential and powerful Indian empire of Sahara India Pariwar was very generous in awarding the medal winners in addition to what they had already attained at the Olympics. Sahara had adopted certain sports prior to the Olympics such as track & field, Indian boxing, wrestling, archery, shooting, tennis and others.

In October of 2012, Sahara India Pariwar deeply honored those Indian sports-persons in an outstanding felicitation commemoration that had been well arranged at Sahara Shaher, Lucknow.  Before the Olympics began, it was already announced by Sahara that they would be awarding medals of pure gold in weights of 5kg, 3kg and 2kg to every Indian athlete who won gold, silver and bronze medals in their Olympic events. Those who attended the ceremony themselves were witnesses to the 9 pure gold medals that were awarded to the victorious contenders.

Such ample donations and support are nothing new to us who know all about Sahara India Pariwar and their concern towards the sports and athletes of India. I’m a fan of the track & field events and was glad to know that Sahara helped in the training of many of them while at the same time provided top-of-the-line equipment and resources to make the athletes feel special. They also take care of the financial needs of the top professionals in order to keep them properly focused on what they must do to win.

In 2009, Sahara India Pariwar had pioneered The Sahara Indian Sports Awards with every objective to bring all sports in a jointly fashion which also included sports that were either popular or not so popular at the time. The goal was also to formally recognize and respect the accomplishments of Indian athletes that were able to take pride of the nation to peak levels by helping raise India’s flag high. The second edition of the awards occurred in 2010 at the MMRDA Grounds in Mumbai. Again, the aim was to encourage younger athletes to bear witness to the positions they might find themselves in one day should they also pursue their competition dreams.

The recognition for Sahara doesn’t even stop here but can go back to 2002 when at the Commonwealth Games, Sahara honored the winners for their outstanding sports discipline and execution while competing. The setting was at a very shimmering ceremony in Delhi where each medal winner was presented with a chain and gold medallion, cash reward of Rs. 1.54 crore and a practice kit. There was also support given by Sahara at the Athens Olympics in 2004 as well as the Commonwealth Games of 2010.

True sports fans should really appreciate what giant enterprises like Sahara India Pariwar actually accomplish when they stand behind their country, its sports and its athletes.

Growing up as a child I used to love sports of all kinds. I couldn’t wait every four years to watch the winter and summer Olympic Games on television and cheer for my country. I was always amazed at how all the countries of the world could set aside their differences and come together to compete for all those medals. As time passed on and I grew into an adult, I lost almost all of my taste for sports. It wasn’t until the London Olympic Games of 2012 that a door was re-opened and I began to appreciate sports and athletes from not only my country but from others as well. When I now realize all the effort, training and sponsorship that go into producing athletes I have learned to truly appreciate it all and when witnessing what top Indian conglomerate Sahara India Pariwar has done to support the athletes is truly remarkable.

Sahara India Pariwar is a definite leading supporter and promoter of sports both local and regional at national as well as international levels. Sahara stands firmly behind the sports of India because they believe they encourage an enthusiastic and healthy aspect of society and culture. Sports can break down barriers that were put up over centuries, bring unification and create an emotional relationship. Saharasri Subrata Roy (Chairman of Sahara India Pariwar) goes on to explain that all humans possess a dominating instinct within themselves that craves competitiveness against others. Sahara uses this benefit and promotes the sports of India in order to generate top world athletes who will in turn inspire younger generations to pursue sporting careers as well.

Sahara had taken the liberty in 2010 of being a major organizational provider in preparing and coordinating the XIX Commonwealth Games. Their aim was to ultimately impress and gratify the expectations of all the guests who came to attend it from across the globe. The key to accomplishing this was by supplying critical human resource and services to numerous areas and also the bonus for volunteers. During this period of time, among much skepticism Saharasri Subrata Roy had personally dedicated himself along with everyone else to restore the pride of India. The plan worked very well and Commonwealth Games became one of India’s national festivals.

Other important aspects of the games were the making of Jee Jaan Se – Commonwealth Song which was specifically recorded with Shankar-Ehsan Loy, Sonu Nigam and Sapna Mukerjee. More than 2,500 gold-plated wrist watches were distributed to volunteers and the media as well. Other international guests were treated as well with brass name plates on the GAs rooms at Ashoka Hotel. Coffee table books, DVDs, experience folders and personalized stationary dockets were also given out to guests and much more.

Sahara India Pariwar is incredibly generous to its athletes and treats them with top quality training facilities at Sahara Sports Academy and also provides bonus pay-outs to the top professionals who provide excellent performances in their sports. There is no doubt that the world of sports for India has gone first class as soon as Sahara had taken over. May they provide further lucrative promotions and support to the future generations of Indian athletes.

I can still remember watching the Indian shooters Tejaswini Sawant, Asher Noria and Gagan Narang at the 50th ISSF World Shooting Championship in Munich, Germany and how they proudly won their medals for a job well done. Not only can India be proud of their athletes but also the ones who stand behind them. Sahara India Pariwar has gone through extensive lengths to provide the best training and support for the athletes. In fact, the President of the (NRAI) said, “It is because of Sahara’s support that our shooters have done extremely well and have won two gold and one bronze medal and two quota places during the World Championship.”

As a passionate fan I can appreciate what lengths all athletes go through and especially the ones in the shooting events. Far too often there are many potential athletes that were never given the right opportunity because they had inadequate facilities or resources to become all that they could be. It takes a willing conglomerate like Sahara India Pariwar to give assistance and guidance to such athletes in need.

It was in 2009 when Sahara stepped up and reached out in order to lend a helping hand for the shooting athletes of India. In association with the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), Sahara had recognized 15 shooters that also consisted of many upcoming ones as well as 5 female shooters. Some of those athletes were quite well known such as Mr. Ranjon Sodhi,  Mr. Gagan Narang, Mr. Rajyavardhan Singh and others who were all guaranteed  to receive support until the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. A new shooting event had been created named Champion of Champions and Sahara promised to sponsor it as well as the National Championship.

As always, Sahara India Pariwar hopes that by backing their fellow athletes they will excel to greater heights, win medals and be a great inspiration to the younger generations in hope that the sport of shooting as well as many others will be seriously pursued. Within the four years of support that Sahara had promised, all shooters and other athletes were to be put upon a ranking system of sponsorship payments. Rewards would go to those with the highest achievements and performances in their sports. However, an evaluation for the top five shooters was to be done after two years only. Sahara to date proudly supports more than 25 participants in the shooting events.

In the Olympic Park in London while at the Olympic Games Village, Saharasri Subrata Roy was present to wish luck and encourage the Indian athletes of the various sports through a short motivational speech and a film that was also produced by Sahara.

With companies like Sahara India Pariwar backing sports and athletes, it is unquestionable that the necessary preservation of shooting and other games will have an even longer history. In turn, future generations will have equal opportunities to fulfill their aspirations in such competition as well.


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