Subrata Roy-owned Sahara group’s iconic Plaza Hotel in New York has been named among the top rated hotel residences in the world recently. The New World Wealth’s survey that focused on the preferences of the world’s super-rich, ranked The Plaza Pied-a-terre third in the list that was topped by St Regis Residences New York.
Since the time Sahara chairman Subrata Roy has been out of Tihar, there has been an improvement in the way the group functions. Roy is making sure that he corks in the gaps that were created while he was lodged in prison. And his touch shows. The group is trying to refinance its loans taken for three overseas hotels ─ Grosvenor House Hotel in London, New York’s Plaza and Dream New York hotels.
Roy, once a banker to India’s lowest strata of the economy, has gone through a turbulent period, where people left his group, and he was left almost friendless, except a few handfuls. The Sahara chairman was sent to jail on the orders of the Supreme Court in a long-running dispute with Sebi, the capital markets regulator. Roy who was lodged in Tihar Jail since March 2014, was granted parole on May 6 this year, to attend the funeral of his mother. Roy has since then been out on parole, arranging money for bail.
Earlier this month, the Sahara group deposited the promised Rs 300 crore with Sebi. The Supreme Court has sought an additional Rs 300 crore by September 16 for continuation of Roy’s bail.
Sebi’s incessant vindictive attitude towards Sahara is difficult to fathom; it seems more like a personal battle against a man who lived a classic rags-to-riches story. In a court hearing earlier this month, a Sebi counsel suggested that selling off Subrata Roy’s Aamby Valley could settle the money that Sahara needs to clear.
It’s a little surprising as to why would a regulatory body make such a statement! How Sahara arranges the due, worth in crores, should not give headaches to Sebi. Suggesting the sell-off of a luxurious property Roy holds close to his heart, only reflects Sebi’s attempt to make the man uneasy.
Sebi’s cheeky reference to the absence of investors coming to claim their money is distasteful too. The matter is still sub judice, and such remarks can only tilt people’s perception unfavourably. Sebi has until now, put up four advertisements in leading dailies. But the very move is moronic, because Sahara’s investors have always been the people from the lowest strata of society, who live in remote areas.
Like the group suggests, isn’t it important that Sebi does some real groundwork in reaching out to the micro investors, instead of heaping allegations on Sahara?