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Around 4,600 investors in two Sahara group companies have come forward to claim refunds from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), which had asked those who had purchased bonds issued by the entities to claim their money. Sources familiar with the development told TOI that the average claim is to the tune of Rs 20,000, resulting in a total demand of under Rs 10 crore.

The low demand will bolster Sahara’s argument before courts that it had repaid most of the investors who had come forward to claim the investment they had made in bonds issued by two group companies — Sahara India Real Estate Corp (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp (SHICL).

In August, Sebi had asked investors to submit refund applications with documentary proof by September 30. The regulator has begun the process of issuing refunds, the sources said.

Sebi and Sahara have been involved in a bitter battle over the past few years, related to alleged irregular fund-raising to the tune of Rs 24,000 crore from three crore investors.

Sahara has maintained that it has cleared over 90% of the outstanding amount and paid directly to the bondholders, and the remaining amount added up to around Rs 2,500 crore. Following SC orders, it had deposited Rs 5,120 crore to Sebi in December 2012, while another Rs 3,100 crore was deposited this June.

Sahara chief Subrata Roy has been in Tihar Jail for the past six months after the company failed to raise the Rs 10,000 crore required to secure the bail, which the court is insisting on to repay investors.

The company has tried to sell and mortgage its iconic hotel properties in the US and UK but the efforts are yet to bear fruit. Roy was given permission to use a temporary facility in the jail premises to pursue sale of the hotels but has now been ordered to return to barracks.

Sebi had earlier sought to get the list of investors but made little headway as a truckload of documents reached its Mumbai office. It had also tried to contact investors directly earlier as well but got few responses.

Reference link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/4600-Sahara-investors-claim-refund-from-Sebi/articleshow/44765138.cms

It’s been over six months that Subrata Roy, the flamboyant chief of Sahara, has been in Delhi’s Tihar jail. In the meantime, the hopes of his release have risen and ebbed. And as the days go by, it is becoming uncertain when he will be able to furnish Rs 10,000 crore to Sebi — a pre-condition set by the Supreme Court for his release.

Company sources say that it’s not that the company doesn’t have the money. The issue is Roy’s current predicament. “The entire world knows that he’s being forced to make distress sales to raise this amount and so he is getting badly discounted offers for his valuable overseas properties. Now, which businessman wants to sell his jewels at throwaway prices,” said a company executive.

Roy’s case — and along with him that of two other Sahara directors, Ashok Roy Choudhury and R S Dubey — has few parallels. Technically, Rs 10,000 crore is not a bail amount; bail was granted to him five months ago, but it came with the pre-condition of him paying Rs 10,000 crore for his release. Legal experts say this is an extraordinary pre-condition.

There is also lack of clarity about the charges that have been slapped against Roy and the two Sahara directors. If it is contempt of court — Roy refused to appear before the Supreme Court on the given date citing his mother’s illness — he has already served the maximum punishment of six months prescribed for the offence.

“The question to be debated is whether there is a reasonable limit for how long someone can be incarcerated under the present circumstances — or if the six-month limit prescribed under the Contempt of Courts Act applies here,” said Gopal Sankaranarayanan, senior advocate, Supreme Court.

Article 21 of the Constitution deals with an individual’s personal liberty. It states, “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”

Some feel that this Article is being violated. Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “Although currently I am not arguing the case, in my professional opinion, the continued incarceration may well be held to be a violation of his right to life under Article 21 (of Constitution of India) and a fit ground for a curative petition.”

These legal points aside, it is now clear that Roy — about whom company executives say was not an original respondent in this case — will have to pay the amount as ordered by the Supreme Court. The question is whether he should be kept in prison until he coughs up with Rs 10,000 crore, or should he be released with due safeguards, allowed to negotiate the best terms for sale of assets, and told to pay the amount within a set deadline.

Roy has been in Tihar jail, under judicial custody, since March 4 this year. In early August, Roy was given a 10 working days to negotiate sale or lease of Sahara group’s hotel properties to raise the Rs 10,000-crore bail amount. According to people within the group, he has been making ‘relentless efforts to sell the properties’ in order to meet the criterion set forth by the apex court, ‘which shows his bonafide intention to comply with the orders passed by the court’.

Reference Link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Legal-debate-over-Roys-detention-gathers-pace/articleshow/44661645.cms

It’s been over six months that Subrata Roy, the flamboyant chief of Sahara, has been in Delhi’s Tihar jail. In the meantime, the hopes of his release have risen and ebbed. And as the days go by, it is becoming uncertain when he will be able to furnish Rs 10,000 crore to Sebi — a pre-condition set by the Supreme Court for his release.

Company sources say that it’s not that the company doesn’t have the money. The issue is Roy’s current predicament. “The entire world knows that he’s being forced to make distress sales to raise this amount and so he is getting badly discounted offers for his valuable overseas properties. Now, which businessman wants to sell his jewels at throwaway prices,” said a company executive.

Roy’s case — and along with him that of two other Sahara directors, Ashok Roy Choudhury and R S Dubey — has few parallels. Technically, Rs 10,000 crore is not a bail amount; bail was granted to him five months ago, but it came with the pre-condition of him paying Rs 10,000 crore for his release. Legal experts say this is an extraordinary pre-condition.

There is also lack of clarity about the charges that have been slapped against Roy and the two Sahara directors. If it is contempt of court — Roy refused to appear before the Supreme Court on the given date citing his mother’s illness — he has already served the maximum punishment of six months prescribed for the offence.

“The question to be debated is whether there is a reasonable limit for how long someone can be incarcerated under the present circumstances — or if the six-month limit prescribed under the Contempt of Courts Act applies here,” said Gopal Sankaranarayanan, senior advocate, Supreme Court.

Article 21 of the Constitution deals with an individual’s personal liberty. It states, “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”

Some feel that this Article is being violated. Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “Although currently I am not arguing the case, in my professional opinion, the continued incarceration may well be held to be a violation of his right to life under Article 21 (of Constitution of India) and a fit ground for a curative petition.”

These legal points aside, it is now clear that Roy — about whom company executives say was not an original respondent in this case — will have to pay the amount as ordered by the Supreme Court. The question is whether he should be kept in prison until he coughs up with Rs 10,000 crore, or should he be released with due safeguards, allowed to negotiate the best terms for sale of assets, and told to pay the amount within a set deadline.

Roy has been in Tihar jail, under judicial custody, since March 4 this year. In early August, Roy was given a 10 working days to negotiate sale or lease of Sahara group’s hotel properties to raise the Rs 10,000-crore bail amount. According to people within the group, he has been making ‘relentless efforts to sell the properties’ in order to meet the criterion set forth by the apex court, ‘which shows his bonafide intention to comply with the orders passed by the court’.

Reference Link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Legal-debate-over-Roys-detention-gathers-pace/articleshow/44661645.cms

The Sahara group’s iconic hotel The Plaza, New York, figures among the top 10 hotels in the world for multi-millionaire visitors in 2014, a survey said.

The Plaza is the second most preferred hotel for the uber-rich people globally, said the survey by New World Wealth. It was based on a sample of 450 multi-millionaires.

The Plaza, which is jointly owned by Sahara Group and Kingdom Holdings, a Saudi Arabia-based corporation, had 3,700 multi-millionaires in the 12 months to June 2014, second only to The Bellagio in Las Vegas, which received as many as 6,400 multi millionaires.

“The Plaza’s high place on the list is impressive considering it only has 280 rooms which puts it at a disadvantage to larger hotels which can accommodate more guests in a year,” the report said.

According to the report, titled ‘Most Popular Hotels for Millionaires’, The Raj Palace, Jaipur, had 300 or more multi-millionaire visitors in the 12 months to June.

The Raj Palace, Jaipur is the only one hotel from India has made it to the list of select few boutique hotels that witnessed 300 or more multi-millionaires visitors.

Other most preferred hotel destinations for multi – millionaires include Caesars Palace, Las Vegas(3,400 visitors); Waldorf Astoria, New York (3,300); Marina Bay Sands Singapore (3,100) and The Breakers, Palm Beach (3,000) among others.

Las Vegas hotels dominate the list. “This reflects Vegas’s appeal as a short stay holiday destination for the super-rich,” the report said.

The other boutique hotels which were mentioned by several multi-millionaires in the survey include — Baur au Lac, Zurich; Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles; Goldeneye, Jamaica; Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Antibes; Little Nel, Aspen and Raffles, Singapore.

For the purposes of this study, an individual with net assets of at least USD 10 million is considered multi-millionaire. There are around 495,000 multi-millionaires worldwide (as on June 2014).

The Sahara group’s iconic hotel The Plaza, New York, figures among the top 10 hotels in the world for multi-millionaire visitors in 2014, a survey said.

The Plaza is the second most preferred hotel for the uber-rich people globally, said the survey by New World Wealth. It was based on a sample of 450 multi-millionaires.

The Plaza, which is jointly owned by Sahara Group and Kingdom Holdings, a Saudi Arabia-based corporation, had 3,700 multi-millionaires in the 12 months to June 2014, second only to The Bellagio in Las Vegas, which received as many as 6,400 multi millionaires.

“The Plaza’s high place on the list is impressive considering it only has 280 rooms which puts it at a disadvantage to larger hotels which can accommodate more guests in a year,” the report said.

According to the report, titled ‘Most Popular Hotels for Millionaires’, The Raj Palace, Jaipur, had 300 or more multi-millionaire visitors in the 12 months to June.

The Raj Palace, Jaipur is the only one hotel from India has made it to the list of select few boutique hotels that witnessed 300 or more multi-millionaires visitors.

Other most preferred hotel destinations for multi – millionaires include Caesars Palace, Las Vegas (3,400 visitors); Waldorf Astoria, New York (3,300); Marina Bay Sands Singapore (3,100) and The Breakers, Palm Beach (3,000) among others.

Las Vegas hotels dominate the list. “This reflects Vegas’s appeal as a short stay holiday destination for the super-rich,” the report said.

The other boutique hotels which were mentioned by several multi-millionaires in the survey include — Baur au Lac, Zurich; Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles; Goldeneye, Jamaica; Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Antibes; Little Nel, Aspen and Raffles, Singapore.

For the purposes of this study, an individual with net assets of at least USD 10 million is considered multi-millionaire. There are around 495,000 multi-millionaires worldwide (as on June 2014).

If one is found guilty of breaking a rule before the court of law, he is supposed to serve the requisite punishment. There is no place for either media trials or for that matter a judiciary which believes it has the powers to send people to jail without a conviction. It is a real sorry state in India that despite of being the largest democracy, more than half of the people in jail are still undergoing trials and have not been proved as convicts for what they are accused. Has anyone ever thought about what the person and relatives go through, who is to bring back the lost time?

One such victim to media and justice-delayed trial is Subrata Roy. If he is guilty he needs to rot in jail but to deny him a bail every time is violation of the very principles that the Constitution of India was founded on. “I am in complete disagreement of the justice meted out by the Supreme Court to Subrata Roy. If an actor, Sanjay Dutt is allowed on permanent parole to look after an ailing wife, why is Tarun Tejpal not allowed to meet his dying mother? I know I will have an army of feminists attack me for this, but the fact is Sanjay Dutt was tried and convicted. Tarun Tejpal has been jailed, convicted and will probably be tried. Is this fair? Most importantly, is it right?” said a famous socialite.

Subrata Roy is being tried in a civil matter and is now in jail because the judges want a proposal. To send a man to jail indefinitely without allowing him bail is once against the principles of freedom and liberty that are every Indian’s rights.

Amartya Sen in his wonderful book ‘The Idea of Justice’ opines that there is an inherent difference between neeti and nyaya. One is about the process and the other is about justice. But then he goes on to explain, that justice is ultimately all about fairness. According to this logic, in Subrata Roy’s case, there has been no fairness. The socialite adds to his statement “this is what mobocracy is all about and this is what we often deem to be kangaroo justice. We all need to pause. People like me who go on television and pronounce judgment on people or those who have the faith of every Indian sitting in court-rooms and dispensing justice as if we were living in medieval times. We need to question the fairness of all we do. In that, we shall find the answers to a more robust and free India.”

We can clearly make out a very positive support for Subrata Roy outside the jail. There are many politicians, famous actors and actresses who have claimed their support for him in public. Let us pause for a minute and think what is it was us and not him in this given situation. If we all agree that being famous is why he is being misjudged, can we not come forward for his support like other cases?

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