The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed a plea by the Centre seeking allocation of Rs 5,000 crore out of Rs 24,000 crore deposited by the Sahara group with market regulator Sebi to repay dues of the depositors of the Sahara Group of Cooperative Societies.
The direction came on an application filed by the Centre in a PIL by a person named Pinak Pani Mohanty, who sought a direction to pay the amount to the depositors who invested in several chit fund companies and Sahara credit firms.
A bench of justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar noted that the amount was lying in the "Sahara-SEBI Refund Account" unutilised.
The top court said the prayer sought in the present application seems to be reasonable and which shall be in the larger public interest and interest of the genuine depositors of the Sahara Group of Cooperative Societies.
"Out of the total amount of Rs. 24,979.67 crore lying in the 'Sahara-SEBI Refund Account', Rs. 5000 crore be transferred to the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies, who, in turn, shall disburse the same against the legitimate dues of the depositors of the Sahara Group of Cooperative Societies, which shall be paid to the genuine depositors in the most transparent manner and on proper identification," the bench said.
The top court also directed that entire disbursement process will be monitored by former top court judge R Subhash Reddy with the assistance of advocate Gaurav Agarwal, who has been appointed as amicus curiae to assist Justice Reddy as well as the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies.
"The manner and modalities for making the payment is to be worked out by the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies in consultation with Justice Reddy and Agarwal.
"Rs. 15 lakhs per month be paid to Justice R Subhash Reddy, Former Judge of this Court and Rs. five lakhs per month be paid to Gaurav Agarwal, learned Amicus Curiae towards their honorarium," the bench said.
The top court further directed that the amount be paid to the respective genuine depositors of the Sahara Group of Cooperative Societies not later than nine months from today.
The balance amount thereafter will be again transferred to the Sahara-SEBI refund account, it said.
The Centre had sought money from the SEBI-Sahara Sahara-Sebi escrow account that was formed after the top court in August 2012 directed two Sahara firms -- Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Limited (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing India Corporation Limited (SHICL) -- to refund investors.