Sahara’s 5 lakh Investors To Stage Protest against Govt in Delhi: Report
Moneylife Digital Team 23 November 2023
Around 500,000 people who invested in four cooperatives run by the Sahara group are expected to converge in Delhi in December to protest the Union government’s failure to refund their deposits, says a report from The Hindu.
According to the report, a portal launched in July by Union minister of cooperation Amit Shah to refund the money to Sahara investors, most of whom are from rural and semi-urban areas across 26 states, has failed to take off, with multiple complaints of rejection. 
Quoting Abhay Dev Shukla, president of a registered body representing the Sahara investors, the newspaper says that after the death of Sahara group founder Subrata Roy, there was fear among the people that the unclaimed funds would be returned to the Consolidated Fund of India. 
Mr Shukla told the newspaper that if the government confiscated the Sahara chairperson’s property, “the money of crores of investors will be lost, which cannot be tolerated at any cost.”
“In December, depositors from all over the country will reach Delhi’s Jantar Mantar and will gherao (surround) the offices of the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO),” Mr Shukla told The Hindu.
In 2012, the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) won a landmark order from the Supreme Court (SC) against two Sahara group companies to deposit Rs25,000 crore with the regulator. The apex court asked SEBI to refund the money to investors under the supervision of a retired SC judge.
Over the past decade, this kitty swelled to Rs25,163 crore, including interest, after paying out a mere Rs138 crore to 17,526 investors—even though Sahara had deposited just a little over Rs15,000 crore. (Read: Sahara: Ghost, Duped Investors & Regulatory Failure)
On 29 March 2023, following the home ministry’s intervention and another SC order, SEBI was asked to transfer Rs5,000 crore to the central registrar of cooperatives to pay back investors of these four cooperatives. (Read: Sahara Refunds: A Silent Regulator and a Mysterious and Confusing Supreme Court Order). The press information bureau (PIB) hailed this as a ‘historic decision’ that would give back 100mn (million) investors their money and a portal was quickly set up to upload depositors’ claims in April 2023.
At that time, Moneylife Foundation had filed an intervention petition (Read: Supreme Court Directs SEBI, Sahara To Respond in Interim Applications Filed by Moneylife Foundation) in SC on behalf of investors of the Sahara Cooperative Society. We also formed a Telegram group of nearly 1,000 Sahara investors, who confirm that nobody has received a single rupee from the government so far.
As Sucheta Dalal, managing editor of Moneylife, wrote in her weekly column, transferring this large sum of money to CFI will, hopefully, end the futile exercise being conducted by SEBI for over a decade (Read: Sahara files contempt petition in Supreme Court against SEBI). Significantly, media leaks about this potential action make no mention about the claims of investors in the Sahara Cooperatives—instead there is talk about how a reduction in government borrowing will boost bond markets. (Read: Financial Frauds Caught in a Farcical Recovery Process: Sahara, Pancard & PACL
Earlier this month, Subarata Roy, the founder of Sahara India Pariwar, breathed his last in Mumbai following a cardiac arrest after a prolonged illness. Mr Roy also spent over two years in jail for contempt of court. He remained out on bail.
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3 months ago
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Kamal Garg
3 months ago
GoI cannot simply usurp depositors' money like this.
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