The Sahara Group has come in for sharp criticism from the Supreme Court on Monday for not refunding ` 27,000 crore to the investors.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice S S Nijjar and Justice J Chelameswar asked the Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL) and the Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) to tell by Tuesday whether the two companies would be able to refund the entire amount to their investors within a week.
Justice Kabir, who is normally unflappable, had some harsh words for the two companies for not carrying out the order of the apex court in this regard and said the petition cannot be entertained.
When senior counsel Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for one of the companies, tried to justify their failure to refund the entire amount, the Chief Justice said, “You are not entitled to any hearing. Your intention is very shaky. Your every step is shaky. We can’t interpret our order according to your need,” he remarked. “You are justifying your conduct which is not justifiable,” he added. Subramaniam said that the company complied with apex court’s order for furnishing all documents to the regulator Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI). At this, the Bench asked him to furnish the details about the money refunded to investors.
“Don’t try to defend your conduct. It is unjustified. Unfortunately, you are doing so,” the Bench said. You have no intention of returning (the investors’ money). Returning some money to some investors is not complying with our orders,” the Bench said.
“Are you interested to pay or not. We are extending the time even though you are not entitled to,” the Bench said.
When senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for another of Sahara Group company, stood up to make his submissions, the Bench asked him to sit down.
Senior counsel Arvind Dattar, appearing for the SEBI, opposed Sahara’s petition and submitted that it had already filed a contempt petition against them and that strong action should be taken against them.
The Bench, however, said it was more concerned about the common man, who has invested his money in the companies.