Even as Sahara Group struggles to mortgage its overseas hotel properties, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) slapped a show cause notice on the conglomerate for alleged violations in foreign exchange laws pertaining to ₹3,600 crore purchase sum of the Grosnover House luxury hotel property in London in 2010.
The government agency issued the notice after a full and thorough investigation over two years, concerning the transfer of funds from India.
The investigation under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) revealed that Sahara had not taken the legal route, which would have needed the Reserve Bank of India's clearance for the transfer of funds for the said deal.
The Sahara Group made an overseas transaction without seeking permission under the then current RBI rules, forcing the central bank to refer the case to ED, which has followed on the money trial and has issued the notice to Sahara.
Sahara is said to have channelised the funds through the automatic route of funds transfer, without taking the "required RBI permissions," overseeing such transactions.
ED had noted that the funds moved abroad were channelled through Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Limited and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Limited, and then to its international subsidiary, in violation of FEMA and RBI rules.
Sahara India's Chairman Subrato Roy has been in jail for close to a year, and the avenues to secure his bail have dried up, as Sahara had been reluctant to go for an outright sale of the hotel properties, fearing that it would not be able to monetise the true value of the property. Sahara has tried re-mortgaging without success.
Sahara is alleged to have laundered money, after it failed to return money to the tune of $7 billion to depositors, which forced the capital market regulator SEBI to file charges, reported EconomicTimes.
Sahara India insists that it has paid off the investors.