Delhi High Court. (File Photo: IANS)
Delhi High Court. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Jan 28 : The Delhi High Court has stayed an order issued by the Centre against nine Sahara Group of Companies, in which the government asked the investigating officials to submit a probe report of the companies.

"... We hereby stay the operation, implementation and execution of the orders dated October 31, 2018, and October 27, 2020, passed by the respondents as well as subsequent actions and proceedings initiated pursuant thereto, including coercive proceedings and look-out notices, qua the petitioners herein, till the next date of hearing," the bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said in an order dated December 13, 2021.

As per the October 31, 2018 order passed by Registrar of Companies (ROC), Mumbai, investigation was directed into the affairs of three Companies -- Sahara Q Shop Unique Products Range Limited, Sahara Q Gold Mart Limited, and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Limited.

Six more Companies -- Aamby Valley Limited, Qing Amby City Developers Corporation Ltd., Sahara India Commercial Corporation Limited, Sahara Prime City Ltd., Sahara India Financial Corporation Limited, Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Limited were also ordered to be probed.

The Sahara argued that there is no reason that has been assigned in the government order as to why it was considered necessary that an investigation be made against the companies.

It was categorically mentioned that the Investigation Report shall be submitted by the Inspectors to the Central Government within a period of three months.

However, no such report was rendered within three months and in fact even today, despite the passage of more than three years, the investigation is still ongoing, the Sahara group argued.

"Section 212(3) of the Companies Act stipulates that where the investigation into the affairs of a company has been assigned by the Central Government to SFIO, it shall submit its report to the Central Government within such period as may be specified in the order, which in the present case was three months, in the order. Thus, there is a clear violation of statutory mandate in the present case by Respondents in continuing the investigation after the lapse of the period of three months," the company's counsel said.

He further said, even a plain reading of the provisions of Section 219 (a) to (d) leaves no doubt that there must be some affiliation between the Company under investigation and other Body Corporate during the relevant time. It is completely vague and silent on the affiliation between the six Companies sought to be investigated into and the earlier three Companies under investigation, he added.

Petitioners have clearly averred the writ petition that the six Companies have never been, at any relevant time, the Subsidiary Companies or the Holding Companies of the three Companies already under investigation.

The Sahara Group also categorically denied that these six companies were ever managed by any person as Managing Director/Manager, who is the Managing Director/Manager of any of the three Companies under investigation.

It is further denied that the Board of Directors of any of the said six companies are or were comprised of nominees of any of the three Companies, whose affairs are being investigated into, pursuant to the order.

Therefore, the investigation initiated is per se illegal, being contrary to the statutory provision, the group said.

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