Sahara Group gets Rs 3,600-crore notice for UK hotel
Mail Today Bureau February 7, 2015
Troubles for jailed Sahara Group chairman Subrata Roy are mounting with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) slapping a show-cause notice to the conglomerate on Friday for alleged violation of foreign exchange laws to the tune of Rs 3,600 crore in connection with the purchase of a luxury property in London few years ago.
Official sources said that the agency issued the notice after about a two-yearlong investigation into the case, which pertains to the purchase of Grosvenor House hotel in London, a luxury property, by transfer of funds from India by the Group in 2010.
The probe, initiated under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (Fema), has charged Sahara for not taking the legal route of obtaining the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) clearance for transfer of funds to the tune of more than Rs 3,600 crore in striking this deal.
The Group made a overseas direct investment in contravention to the existing RBI rules that time. The RBI referred the case to the ED, which has now issued final show-cause notices to them, sources said. Queries sent by news agency PTI in this regard to Sahara remained unanswered.
However, sources said that the Group is yet to receive any notices. The ED probe found that the Group chose to make this investment and channelise funds through the automatic route of funds transfer but Sahara allegedly did not obtain the required RBI permission in this regard.
The agency said that the funds sent abroad for purchasing this costly asset were sent through Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Limited and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Limited and then to its overseas subsidiary, which was violation of Fema and RBI rules.
Last November, the ED had registered a money laundering case against Sahara in connection with non-payment of crores of rupees to depositors as probed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).