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The Plaza, Pride of India, on sale now

  • Sahara’s hotel emerges favourite of the global super rich
  • On sale now to raise money for Subrata Roy’s bail

The iconic New York hotel The Plaza, owned by Subrata Roy, may have done proud to India’s hospitality industry as it has emerged as the second most preferred hotel for the super rich people, globally. But the hotel now faces the predicament of getting out of the Indian hands as it may have to be sold to raise Rs 10,000 crores to secure Roy’s release from jail.

Subrata Roy has done India proud when he unfurled the national tricolour on the The Plaza at New York. A survey by New World Wealth shows The Plaza had 3,700 multi-millionaires in the 12 months to June 2014, second only to The Bellagio in Las Vegas, which received as many as 6,400 multi millionaires.

It will be a sad moment to see the popular hotel will have to be sold sooner or later as the Subrata Roy has to raise Rs 10,000 crores, including Rs 5,000 in cash, to get out the jail.

The Court had ordered Sahara to pay up Rs 24,000 crores towards refund of money collected on account of Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures (OFCD). While Sahara is claiming that it has already repaid more than 93% of its liabilities, it will be very unfortunate that without verifying the claim, Sahara is put into a situation where they have to sell this crown hotel ‘The Plaza’, legal pundits say.

Sahara claims the group repaid majority of its OFCD investors between May and mid- September, 2012 and  that its dues to OFCD customers are less than Rs 2,500 crore, against which the company has already deposited Rs 5,100 crores with SEBI as per a Supreme Court order (and the amount works out Rs 5,600 crores after calculating in the interest). Since those repayments have not been taken into consideration, any money paid now will obviously mean a double payment towards one liability.

“In nutshell, it is SEBI that owes us money and not the other way round,” says Sahara counsel Sudip Seth. “The onus is on SEBI to verify the investors at the earliest, as dictated by the concerned court order. SEBI has failed miserably in discharging that duty and has simply ignored the documented proofs provided by Sahara. Even as Sahara has offered to extend all help in verification process, the regulator is yet to initiate any action,” says Sethi.

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