Sebi makes fresh bid to find Sahara investors

NEW DELHI, Dec 17: In a fresh effort to locate Sahara investors eligible for refunds, regulator Sebi has asked bondholders to submit their claims by next month along with necessary proof of their investments.

The latest exercise follows a similar attempt made by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) in August, wherein the eligible bondholders were asked to submit their refund claims to the regulator by September 30, 2014.

Sebi said it received 4,900 refund claims during that exercise from the bondholders of two Sahara companies — Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHICL), which had raised over Rs 24,000 crore from about three crore investors.

“In the interest of those bondholders of Saharas who could not submit their refund claims before the last date, this advertisement is being issued to enable those bondholders to submit their refund claims,” Sebi said in its fresh public notice in this regard.

The Supreme Court had asked Sebi to facilitate refund to the bondholders of the two companies in connection with a long -running dispute involving raising of funds to the tune of over Rs 24,000 crore from investors across the country.

While Sahara maintains it has already repaid more than 93 per cent of the outstanding dues directly to the concerned bondholders and the remaining amount was just about Rs 2,500 crore, it deposited Rs 5,120 crore to Sebi in December 2012 towards the investor refunds as per Supreme Court orders.

A further amount of Rs 3,117 crore was deposited with Sebi by the group in June this year. It is now in the process of selling certain domestic properties to garner funds and deposit the same to Sebi. At least two such property sales have already taken place and a few others are in the offing.

In its latest annual report for the year ended March 31, 2014, Sebi had disclosed having received 3,612 refund applications involving 13,948 deposit accounts till that time in the Sahara matter.

Of those applications, Sebi made refunds in case of 445 applications involving an equal number of deposit accounts for an aggregate amount of about Rs 1.25 crore including interest of about Rs 43.83 lakh. The other applications had deficiencies or fell under either ‘mismatch’ or ‘multiple investment’ category.

The new notice, wherein Sebi has asked the bondholders to submit their refund applications by January 31, 2015, applies to investors holding Real Estate, Abode and Nirmaan Bonds of SIRECL, as also the Multiple, Income and Housing Bonds issued by SHICL, the regulator said.

The investors would need to submit their applications in a prescribed format, along with original bond certificates or passbooks, self-attested copies of identity and address proof and a self-attested copy of the first page of a bank account passbook or a cancelled cheque leaf. The refund amount would be credited to the bank account of the investor, Sebi said. (PTI)


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