Sebi accuses Sahara Group of delaying asset sales

The Sahara Group, an Indian business conglomerate, has faced a series of complications in clearing itself of debts in recent times. The easiest way the Group's chairman, Subrata Roy, can get out of his creditor's hair is to sell some of his hotels (namely The Plaza and Dream in New York and the Grosvenor House in London), but recently he has been accused of making the process difficult.

Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) accused Roy of not taking the sale of his properties seriously, and is now urging the country's top court to intervene and dispose of the properties itself, according to The Economic Times. Serbi submitted documents from prospective buyers in the UK that claim Roy was "deliberately" not accepting offers for his hotels, and was countering with what some investors referred to as "exorbitant" prices.

What does "exorbitant" mean to hotel investors? Domain-B reported that one UK-based investor received a price of $1.3 billion million for the JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel, a property valued at $986 million a few months ago. Since then, Sebi urged the Supreme Court to direct Sahara to file a statement laying out the details of all offers or bids received for the sale or mortgage of its foreign assets, as well as issue directions to Sahara for the suitable sale of these assets and file a schedule of payment with the court.

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Roy and two other directors from the Sahara Group have been in jail since March of this year after Sahara failed to comply with a Supreme Court order to deposit money to be used to repay their debts. Sahara was originally gifted a 15-day extension to settle its debts in early September, the second such extension.

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