Title: Fate of Sahara’s Rs 25,000 Crore Funds Lying with SEBI Remains Uncertain
New Delhi: The recent demise of Sahara Group founder Subrata Roy has shed light on the unresolved issue of over Rs 25,000 crore in undistributed funds that have been held by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for more than a decade.
The question now arises: What will happen to these unclaimed funds? Will they be refunded to the Consolidated Fund of India? Following Mr. Roy’s demise last week, the government is reportedly considering this option. However, government sources have emphasized that it is premature for SEBI to transfer the funds, especially since the process of transferring via the Sahara refund portal is still ongoing.
A senior government official revealed, “We have already managed to pay approximately Rs 230 crore to 2.5 lakh investors. With new registrations still taking place, it would be premature to assume that money from SEBI will be transferred to the Consolidated Fund of India.”
The central government has been transferring funds from SEBI within 45 days of registrations being verified on the refund portal, which was launched by Union Co-operative Minister Amit Shah in July last year.
The troubles for Mr. Roy began in 2012 when the Supreme Court upheld a SEBI order instructing Sahara India Real Estate Corp and Sahara Housing Investment Corp to repay their investors, along with interest. The court then directed Rs 25,000 crore to be invested with SEBI.
Explaining the situation, an official stated, “Since these companies did not have cash, they raised Rs 80,000 crore through four co-operative societies. Out of this, Rs 25,000 crore was transferred to SEBI, and the remaining amount was invested by the Sahara Group in Aamby Valley City.”
Under the court’s guidance, an initial transfer of Rs 5,000 crore was made from SEBI, and investors began receiving their money through the Sahara refund portal. If necessary, the government will request SEBI to transfer additional funds to the refund portal.
“It is an automated, streamlined, and structured process that is still ongoing. Once completed, only then can we examine the legality of transferring the funds to the Consolidated Fund of India,” the official explained, adding that this transfer would also include provisions for future fund transfers to investors.
Government records indicate that around 2.76 crore depositors had invested in four co-operative societies, with 97 percent being retail investors who deposited less than Rs 40,000. The majority of investors were from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, with approximately 85 lakh investors from UP depositing Rs 2,200 crore and 55 lakh investors from Bihar depositing Rs 1,500 crore.
Subrata Roy passed away in Mumbai at the age of 75 after battling a prolonged illness.
Note: This article has been rewritten and contains 527 words.