Who is Subrata Roy? The business magnate whose death has left SEBI in 'Rs 25000 crore dilemma'

Subrata Roy passed away at an age of 75 after battling with prolonged illness. His death has left behind a lot of financial complications for share holders, employees and the regulatory watchdog SEBI.

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Courtesy: X

New Delhi: Following the demise of Sahara Group's patriarch, Subrata Roy, the spotlight now shifts to the aftermath of the financial saga draped with undistributed funds exceeding ₹ 25,000 crore under the vigilant watch of market regulator SEBI. As the dust settles on Roy's prolonged legal battles, the dormant millions face renewed scrutiny, creating ripples in the financial landscape.

In 2011, SEBI launched a regulatory storm, demanding Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIREL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) refund an approximate amount of ₹ 25,000 crore through Optionally Fully Convertible Bonds (OFCDs). They were accused of bypassing regulations with Ponzi schemes that Sahara has vehemently denied the allegations.

Supreme Court sealed the verdict 

After a series of long legal battles, the Supreme Court, on August 31, 2012, upheld SEBI's directive, ordering Sahara to refund investors with a 15% interest. Despite Sahara's claim of refunding over 95% directly, an estimated ₹ 25,000 crore found its way into SEBI's custody for subsequent investor reimbursement.

SEBI's tug of war with Sahara

The latest SEBI annual report reveals a labyrinthine struggle to refund investors, with Rs 138.07 crore disbursed over 11 years. Remarkably, the balance in SEBI-Sahara refund accounts soared to over ₹ 25,000 crore, prompting questions about the efficiency of the refund process.

Despite 19,650 applications as of March 31, 2023, involving 53,687 accounts, SEBI's refunded amount increased only marginally, sparking concerns. The report indicates SEBI's caution in processing claims, with some applications closed due to untraceable records from Sahara Group firms.

Government's intervention

The Central government's recent initiative to refund ₹ 5,000 crore from Sahara Group's cooperative societies adds a fresh layer to the financial drama. With Amit Shah launching the 'CRCS-Sahara Refund Portal' and 18 lakh depositors registered, the saga takes a turn towards resolution.

As the financial pendulum swings between SEBI's Herculean task and the government's intervention, the fate of ₹ 25,000 crore hangs in the balance. Subrata Roy's legacy, once synonymous with the Sahara empire, now echoes in the corridors of regulatory challenges and refund complexities.