Impediments in Aamby valley auction would invite contempt and jail: SC

Sahara case and Aamby Valley auction

While seeking "protection and security of the asset valued at '1 lakh crore", Sahara had informed them about suspension of all business activities of Aamby Valley and its subsidiaries/associate companies from October 3 and subsequent lockout to four establishment from October 19, Sebi said in its contempt plea.

"If any impediment by anyone ... this court will take contempt and send him to jail", the apex court said in its order, taking stern view of a communication by Sahara group to the Superintendent of Police, Pune Rural, that according to market regulator Sebi, stalled the property's auction.

The bench said by Taking exception of the letter written by the company that it would not tolerate any interference by any group official in the auction process and a person would be sent to jail for such activity.

Following Sahara's communication, police took the property, which was to be auctioned, under its charge.

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On Sebi's allegation that the police had taken custody of the property due to which no bidder was willing to take part in the auction process, the bench asked the Director General of Police, Maharashtra, to ensure that the property was handed over to the liquidator within 48 hours.

The apex court was irked when SEBI claimed that the group had allegedly obstructed the process by writing a letter to the Pune police raising the issue of law and order at the prime property. The official liquidator shall proceed with the auction process under the direct supervision of the Company Judge.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the group, claimed wrong statements were being made to prejudice the court as no bidder came forward. Questioning why the letter to the police was written, judge Misra said, "Our order is violated". We don't want to hear you today.

The SC was hearing the Sebi's plea asking it to initiate contempt proceedings against Sahara group chief Subrata Roy and six other directors for "obstructing and derailing" the court-monitored auction process of Aamby Valley. "Sahara has been creating obstruction one way or the other in the sale of their properties, including by way of collusive applications and lockouts to scare away auction bidders", the plea said.

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