New Delhi: In 2011, markets regulator Sebi ordered two Sahara Group firms – Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIREL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) – to refund the money raised from nearly 3 crore investors through bonds known as Optionally Fully Convertible Bonds (OFCDs).
This order came after the regulator ruled that the funds were raised by the two firms in violation of its rules and regulations after Sahara Files for IPO with Sebi.
After a long process of appeals and cross-appeals, the Supreme Court on August 31, 2012 upheld Sebi’s directions asking the two firms to refund the money collected from investors with 15 per cent interest. Sahara was eventually asked to deposit an estimated ₹24,000 crore with Sebi for further refund to investors, though the group has been maintaining that it had already refunded more than 95 per cent of investors directly.
Further, Sebi has taken initiative and on the order of apex court Sahara- Sebi Escrow account opened in which more then 25000 crores were deposited by Sahara India for refund to their Investors. Sahara had sent truck loaded receipts of investors to SEBI but they fails to identify the investors. Then they advertised on the newspapers for the
investors of two real estate companies belonging to Sahara to raise their claim.
It is to be known that Sahara before setup of SEBI-Sahara Escrow account converted Bonds of construction companies issued to investors in SaharaQ Shop memberships that is why SEBI fails to identify investors from receipts they had with them. After that Sahara again offered actual investors of construction companies who converted their investment in Sahara Q shop to invest further in four Credit Societies run by Sahara which were not governed by SEBI. So, Some Investors converted their Sahara Q shop Membership into Credit Society investment and rest investors still stucked with Sahara Q Shop certificates who thought that Sebi will one day take their whereabouts.
Meanwhile, SEBI only advertised for the real estate bond holders for refund claim that’s why only few investors came for refund. in last 11 years when Sahara Q shop investors asked SEBI for refund they said they have no authority for it. When investors ask Sahara people they said they have deposited the amount in Sahara-Sebi Escrow account. Then in 2023 as a cooperative minister Amit Shah came for the rescue of investors and this time too only for credit society investors.
One of the investor said, It is the responsibility of the Apex court and Government to show way to the Sahara Q Shop investors too as they were after years of struggle losing hope for getting back their hard earned money lied in Sahara-Sebi Escrow Account which is increasing day by day with interest.
According to the capital markets regulator’s latest annual report, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) issued ₹138.07 crore in refunds over 11 years to investors of two Sahara Group firms out of 25000 crores.