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.