SC rejects plea to stop Aamby Valley auction

Cheryl Sanders
August 11, 2017

Mumbai: The Supreme Court on Thursday turned down a petition filed by Subrata Roy's Sahara Group that on Wednesday had sought from the apex court a stay on auction of Rs 39,000 crore Aamby Valley city near Pune.

He said that Sahara has been on verge of entering an agreement with a Mauritius-based company to raise money, but for that objective, the auction process has to be postponed for the time being.

During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Mr Roy, said that the auction process should be put on hold till September so that his client could arrange 1,500 crore rupees to be deposited into Sebi-Sahara account.

The court however recorded that, meanwhile, Sahara can continue negotiations with investors on a proposal to alienate 26% equity in the Aamby Valley property.

Sahara allegedly duped its investors of Rs 24K cr, and has been trying to raise money to pay the principal amount.

A Bench of Justices Deepak Misra, Ranjan Gogoi and A.K. Sikri refused the application to delay the advertisement of the auction notice scheduled for August 14 by a month, till September.

On 25 July, the court had directed the official liquidator of the Bombay high court to initiate the first two steps of the process to auction Aamby Valley. If the auction can't be recalled, our negotiating position will be weak and value of the properties will also fall.

However, SEBI's senior counsel Arvind Datar informed the court that no such company existed in Mauritius. The group said that some developments are being made on refund of money to capital market regulator Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India).

As it cleared all the terms and conditions submitted by the Bombay High Court's official liquidator for floating a global tender to invite bids for the auction of Aamby Valley, the court had said that if Sahara paid Rs 1,500 crore by September 7 and submitted a payment plan, it would stall the process of auctioning Aamby Valley.

So far, the Sahara group has managed to repay around Rs 16,000 crore. The top court had last month also extended Sahara chief Subrata Roy's parole to October 10.

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