Mumbai, Feb 22 (IANS) Market regulator Securities Exchange Board of India Friday cautioned investors and the general public against dealing with two Sahara group companies -- Sahara India Real Estate Corp and Sahara Housing Investment Corp -- and their promoters.
"Anyone transacting with them (Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd, Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd and their three promoters and directors) would be doing so at their own peril," SEBI said.
SEBI said that following the Supreme Court order directing refund of investors' money collected by these Sahara firms, it had ordered "attachment of all moveable and immoveable properties, bank accounts and demat accounts of these two companies and that of its promoters and directors namely Subrata Roy Sahara, Vandana Bhargava, Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey".
"Investors and general public are advised to exercise caution and take note of the said orders before transacting with the aforesaid entities/persons in any manner whatsoever," the wachdog said in a public notice.
SEBI had passed two separate orders Feb 13 directing attachment of properties and freezing of accounts. It was after the Supreme Court ruled that the regulator was free to freeze the accounts and attach properties if Sahara firms were not complying with the apex court's earlier orders of August 2012 towards refund of investors' money totalling over Rs.24,000 crore.
The Aug 31 order had asked Sahara group firms to refund the money with 15 percent interest and SEBI to facilitate the refund.
The Sahara Group in response first said the actions taken by SEBI were based on "old facts" and the orders for attaching assets of individuals was not correct. It also said Rs.5,120 crore had already been deposited with the regulator that was in excess of its total liability towards refund to investors.
Later, the Group in advertisements in newspapers claimed that "Sahara has nothing to pay (and) rather Sahara shall soon be eligible to take a big refund from SEBI" and that it was submitting to SEBI the provisional balance sheets of two companies as on Dec 31, 2012 for more clarity on the matter.