NEW DELHI (TIP): Sahara group on Thursday said it plans to initiate civil and criminal proceedings against US-based Mirach Capital for alleged forgery in committing an over $1 billion bailout package in lieu of the group’s three hotels in New York and London.

The Sahara group, which is in dire need of Rs 10,000 crore to get its chief Subrata Roy and two other directors released from Tihar Jail, was banking on Mirach’s promised bailout package, which turned sour after the Indian entity discovered that Bank of America’s (BofA) letter promising the money was forged.

Sahara sources said when its counsel were showing the BofA letter to the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice T S Thakur on January 9, Mirach CEO Saransh Sharma was present in the courtroom.

This comes a day after amicus curiae in the case, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, informed the SC that the Sahara-Mirach deal didn’t look likely and termed the development “disturbing”, adding that there was “more than what meets the eye”. The bench headed by Justice Thakur had said it would examine alternative ways of recovering money from Sahara and asked the group to inform Naphade about other proposals to raise money to get Roy out on bail.

Sahara sources also said that though Sharma had promised to return the retention/blocking fee of $2.6 million (Rs 16.5 crore), he has not done so despite the deal getting rescinded. It also rejected Sharma’s purported media statement that BofA refused to be a party to the financial transaction citing “integrity issues with Sahara”.

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“Sharma’s statement and stated reason were childish and unfounded as he had never mentioned in any communication about the alleged inability of BofA to be part of the transaction.

Instead, he had always defended the letter and said the funds were available at BofA,” sources said.

“Mirach and its CEO are also guilty of wilfully causing contempt of Supreme Court of India for wilfully providing forged letter to be acted upon by the Supreme Court when they were personally present in the court on January 9,” the sources added.

Separately, company sources claimed that Roy was not in custody for non-payment of Rs 20,000 crore to its investors but his custody was due to non-compliance of Supreme Court’s order of August 31, 2012. This was related to depositing around Rs 20,000 crore to Sebi for repayment to investors.

“Out of 3 crore investors, only around 5,000 esteemed investors with an aggregate demand amounting to around Rs 20 crore have applied with Sebi for refund and Sebi had to repay only Rs 2 crore in the last 28 months. Sahara’s money with Sebi is Rs 11,000 crore, including interest earned and post-dated cheques with undertakings,” company sources said.

“Sahara claims that it is has repaid to more than 93%investors and the balance amount is to be repaid to them at the end of the schemes’ tenure, as decided by these investors,” they added.

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