Sahara Employees’ Salaries Overdue Following Liquidity Crunch
Sahara’s conflict with Sebi over investor repayments has begun to effect salaries of the group’s employees, which are getting overdue because of a major liquidity crunch. Majorly corporate offices of the crisis-hit group are facing salary delays. Even day-to-day petty operating expenses and statutory payments are getting due. A Sahara spokesperson said “We are working to diffuse this crisis, which has also created grave difficulties for our employees. Sahara India is one big Pariwar (family) and all the employees are its members, who are standing together in these difficult times.” The company has a total of 10 lakh employees, which include permanent and part time employees and agents. An exact number of salaries overdue was hard to summate but it has been estimated to go up to “tens of thousands”.
Sahara is also working hard to raise money for getting its chief, Subrata Roy, and two of its officials released from imprisonment from Tihar jail, where they have been for an year now. The spokesperson said that Sahara is facing liquidity crunch for a year now due to restriction and double payment of investor refund. This has led to delays in salaries and other operating obligations and expenses. He added, “We are however releasing the salaries time to time based on the fund flow on a continuous basis. The delayed salaries of junior staff were released just a few days back as extra care has been taken for our junior staff. Soon salaries of other brackets will be released.” He also said that the companies which have their own fund-flow are in a better situation to pay salaries without much delay. These include their luxury hotel Sahara Star in Mumbai, resort town Aamby Valley City and the 500-bed tertiary care Sahara Hospital in Lucknow.
Sahara still maintains that it has repaid more than 95 percent of its investors directly. But the group was asked by the Supreme Court in August 2011 to deposit over Rs 24,000 crore with Sebi for refund to investors. The spokesperson added that “any fund raised by the group, which we are doing, through sales and mortgaging of properties, that money shall go to Sahara-Sebi account and nothing will come to the corporate”. And he said that the payment to Sebi is a double payment for them. Sahara till today has already deposited Rs 11,000 crore (including interest) with Sebi. The spokesperson also said that “Sahara’s two Companies in question collected Rs 25,780 crore through OFCD (Optionally Fully Convertible Debenture) schemes. Of this, Sahara repaid almost 95 per cent (around Rs 23,000 crore) of OFCD liabilities of these two companies by 2012.”
Recent attempts by Sahara to raise funds through a US-based company Mirach Capital failed. The group said it is now in talks with a European bank and a Dutch pension fund and some other entities to raise funds for Subrata Roy’s release.
Sahara India Pariwar
Sahara India Pariwar is an Indian conglomerate headquartered in Lucknow, India with business interests in finance, infrastructure & housing, media & entertainment, consumer merchandise retail venture, manufacturing and information technology. The group is a major promoter of sports in India and was the main sponsor of the India national cricket team. The company owns a 42.5% stake in Formula One’s Force India Formula 1 Team and also sponsors India national field hockey team.
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