Police probe allegations about Sahara's threat to investors

Police probe allegations about Sahara's threat to investors
Mumbai:  The police have begun a preliminary inquiry against the Sahara group on a complaint that the group was intimidating investors as it was facing a refund case involving Rs 24,000 crore payment to over three crore investors.

"We have initiated a preliminary inquiry following allegations that the investors are being intimidated by the Sahara group," said a senior official at Economic Offence Wing of the city police.

However, the officer refused to comment when asked if Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had made the complaint against Sahara group.

Now, Mumbai Police will have to record the statements of top executives of the group during the inquiry.

The officer also refused to comment if Sahara group's chief Subrata Roy's statement would also be recorded during the inquiry.

In response to summons issued by SEBI to Mr Roy and other top executives for personal appearance, the latter appeared before the regulator today. SEBI had warned that if they failed to appear, it would ex-parte settle the terms of proclamation of sale of assets of the company.

The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) is scheduled to hear on April 13 the appeals filed by Subrata Roy and others against a previous SEBI order for attachment of their bank accounts, assets and investments.

The properties include those related to the group's Aamby Valley resort town near Pune, other real estate assets in Delhi, Mumbai and at other places across the country, shares, mutual funds and various other investments.

Later this month, the Supreme Court would also hear a plea by SEBI seeking orders for Mr Roy's arrest and barring him from leaving the country.

Two Sahara firms were asked by the Supreme Court in August last year to refund over Rs 24,000 crore raised by "dubious" means from nearly three crore small investors. SEBI was asked to facilitate the refund after verifying genuineness of the investors.

On December 5, 2012, the Supreme Court gave additional time to Sahara and asked it to make an immediate payment of Rs 5,120 crore, followed by Rs 10,000 crore by the first week of January this year and the remainder by the first week of February.

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