The legality of transferring unclaimed funds from the Sahara-Sebi Refund Account to the Consolidated Fund of India is being examined by the government. This transfer may include a provision for refunding investors who make claims in the future.
The death of Subrata Roy, the founder of Sahara Group, last week has brought attention to the fund.
Over the past ten years, there have been very few individuals seeking refunds from the fund.
In 2012, the Supreme Court upheld an order from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), instructing Sahara India Real Estate Corp and Sahara Housing Investment Corp to repay investors, along with interest, by depositing the funds with the capital markets regulator.
The Supreme Court stated that if the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is unable to locate all or some of the subscribers after verifying the provided information, the funds collected from those subscribers will be allocated to the government of India.
The option of transferring the amount to the Consolidated Fund of India with a separate account for refunding investors could be explored, Economic Times reported citing an official.
According to the official, the dedicated refund account managed by Sebi has received very few claimants even 11 years after the judgement.
According to another official, funds can be allocated for pro-poor programmes or other public welfare initiatives.
The official added that this can be done while setting up a separate window for refunding investors and that the issue will be legally examined.
As of 31 March this year, a total amount of Rs 25,163 crore has been recovered from the group, which has been deposited in state-run banks.
This recovery comes after paying out Rs 138 crore to 17,526 applications, which involved 48,326 accounts.
In March, a Supreme Court decision led to the transfer of Rs 5,000 crore to the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies.
This amount is intended to be disbursed to legitimate depositors of the Sahara Group of Cooperative Societies to settle their rightful dues. To facilitate the process of refunds, a dedicated portal was also established.
As per the recent order, a sum of Rs 5,000 crore will be disbursed to the depositors of the Sahara Group of Cooperative Societies within nine months of the order, ensuring prompt payment. The remaining balance will be transferred to the Sahara-Sebi Refund Account.
In July, Home and Cooperatives Minister Amit Shad launched the dedicated portal for Sahara depositors to simplify the refund process.
The Sahara entities had collected funds by issuing optionally fully convertible debentures, a move that was deemed unauthoriaed by Sebi. As a result, Sebi instructed Sahara to reimburse the depositors.
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