A small investor’s perspective
This high profile Sebi-Sahara jig saw puzzle, remains far from unsolved. Perhaps, the duo of Supreme Court and SEBI will now have to commission the services of Hercule Poirot straight out of Agatha Christie’s novel to solve the plot.
For, in its prolonged and much publicized investigation and offensive against Sahara, Sebi has not been able to ferret names and documents of bonafide Sahara investors from two of its group companies and therefore has been unable to refund the entire amount deposited in the Sebi-Sahara-Refund-Account by the group hitherto; and to that effect has held Subrata Roy, Chairman Sahara group in captivity for over a year now, along with two of its directors.
So far in the first attempt Sebi was available to refund only 4,900 claims. The details of the second attempt to locate eligible investors could not be ascertained and now Sebi is making a third attempt. But, in this entire chain of events, there is something, that’s not meeting the eye.
For if the entire amount belongs to small and poor investors, then why have they not queued up to collect their hard earned money? In fact, the number of investors runs into crores but till date only 4,900 applications have been serviced.
So, then the mystery question is where are rest of the investors and why aren’t they coming forward to collect their amounts? Or is it, that these are ghost investors, and bogus documents to misguide Sebi? Or Sahara is right when it says it has already paid back 95% of its small investors?
Well, it is difficult to answer these questions as of now, as this doesn’t look to be a straight forward case anyway, and we will have to wait in the time orbit, for Supreme Court to crack it.
“New Delhi: Making a fresh bid to locate Sahara investors eligible for refunds, capital markets regulator Sebi asked the bond holders to submit their claims along with the proof of investments.
The latest exercise follows two similar attempts made by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) in the past.
The first exercise began in August last year, when the investors were asked to submit their refund claims by September 30, followed by a similar exercise in December when the bondholders were required to approach Sebi with their applications by January 2015.
There is no specific deadline as yet in the latest attempt by Sebi which has been asked by the Supreme Court to refund money collected from the bondholders of Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHICL), after verifying the credentials of the investors.
While the details of the second exercise to locate eligible investors could not be ascertained, Sebi had received 4,900 refund claims in its first attempt last year from the bondholders of two Sahara firms, which had raised Rs 25,780 crore from about three crore investors.
While Sahara firms were asked to deposit the money with Sebi for further repayment to the investors, the group claims to have already refunded about 95% investors directly. The group has, however, already deposited over Rs 12,000 crore in the Sebi-Sahara Refund Account, although the regulator has been able to repay only a small amount to investors as yet. Sahara chairman Subrata Roy, as also two top executives, have been in Tihar Jail for more than a year and the group was asked to deposit Rs 5,000 in cash and bank guarantee for a similar amount for their release.
When contacted, a Sahara spokesperson said the group has repaid around Rs 23,000 crore to the bondholders directly, still it has already deposited more than Rs 12,000 crore to Sebi’s refund account. The group further said Sebi could repay only about Rs 2crore after three rounds of media advertisements across 50-60 publications that resulted in total demand worth about Rs 20 crore, as most of the investors have already got back their money.” PTI