भारतीय प्रतिभूति एवं विनियम बोर्ड (सेबी) ने सहारा क्यू शॉप यूनिक प्रोडक्ट्स रेंज लिमिटेड द्वारा सहारा क्यू शॉप बांड जारी करने का मामला महाराष्ट्र सरकार को महाराष्ट्र निवेशक हित की प्रतिरक्षा अधिनयम 1999, प्राइज चिट तथा मनी सर्कुलेशन निषेध अधनियम 1978 तथा आईपीसी के अंतर्गत समुचित कार्यवाही करने हेतु संदर्भित किया है. सेबी ने आईपीएस अधिकारी अमिताभ ठाकुर और एक्टिविस्ट डॉ नूतन ठाकुर द्वारा सहारा क्यू शॉप बॉण्ड के सम्बन्ध में दायर याचिका में इलाहाबाद हाई कोर्ट की लखनऊ बेंच के 11 फ़रवरी 2015 के आदेशों के पालन में यह कार्यवाही की.
सेबी ने अमिताभ तथा नूतन को अपने पत्र दिनांक 17 अक्टूबर 2016 द्वारा बताया कि सहारा क्यू शॉप की गतिविधियाँ सेबी (सीआईएस) नियमावली 1999 के अधीन नहीं आती हैं और इसीलिए इस मामले को महाराष्ट्र सरकार को भेजा गया है. इन दोनों की शिकायत थी कि पूर्व के सहारा इंडिया रियल एस्टेट और सहारा हाउसिंग की तरह सहारा क्यू शॉप बांड भी क़ानून को धोखा दे कर पब्लिक मनी का कलेक्शन है, जिसमे निवेशकों के हितों की रक्षा का कोई प्रावधान नहीं है, अतः इस मामले में कार्यवाही की जाये.
SEBI asks Maharashtra Govt to act against Sahara Q Shop
Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has asked the Maharashtra Government to take necessary action against Sahara Q shop Unique products Range Limited for issuance of Sahara Q shop bonds under Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors Act 1999, Prize Chit and Money Circulation Banning act 1978 and Indian Penal Code.
SEBI undertook this exercise in compliance of the order dated 11 February 2015 passed by Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court in the petition filed by IPS officer Amitabh Thakur and social activist Dr Nutan Thakur regarding complaint against Sahara Q Shop.
SEBI has informed Amitabh and Nutan through its letter dated 17 October 2016 that activities of Sahara Q shop did not fall under regulatory purview of SEBI (CIS) Regulations 1999 and hence the matter has been referred to Maharashtra government.
The two had complained that like previous cases of Sahara India Real Estate and Sahara Housing, in reality the Sahara Q shop bonds were again collection of public money bye-passing the law of the land, thereby putting the interest of investors in complete jeopardy and had sought action in the matter.
Attached- SEBI letters dated 17 October 2016, Original complaint to SEBI
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI),
Bandra Kurla Complex,
Subject- Enquiry and necessary action as regards certain improprieties related to Sahara Q Shop Unique Products Range limited, Lucknow
1. We, petitioners No 1, 2 and 3 introduce ourselves as under-
Petitioner No 1- Amitabh Thakur is an officer of the Indian Police Service, Uttar Pradesh Cadre and is also active as regards issues of transparent and accountable governance
Petitioner No 2- Dr Nutan Thakur is a social activist and freelance journalist associated with transparency in Governance and Human Right issues
Petitioner No 3- Ashish Verma is an unemployed youth
2. That the three petitioners present a very serious matter associated with Sahara Q Shop Unique Products Range limited, a company allegedly having its Corporate Office at C-38-39, G-Block,15th Floor, Parinee Crescenzo, Opp. MCA Ground, Bandra Kurla Complex (E), Mumbai-400051 and Zonal Office at Augusta Point I 3rd Floor, DLF Golf Course Road, Sec-53 Gurgaon 122 001(New Delhi NCR) (as per information available on the company website (http://www.saharaqshop.com/ContactUs.aspx) and which has given its address as Sahara Q Shop Unique Products Range limited, Sahara India Bhawan, 1, Kapoorthala Comlex, Aliganj, Lucknow – 226024 as per the customer copy of the receipts it is providing for those who are enrolling for the Sahara Q shop.
3. That, as per the company website, Sahara Q Shop is a venture of Sahara India Pariwar, which is offering completely adulteration-free, 100% quality consumer merchandise products in 73 categories, such as staples, processed foods, personal care products, home care products, general merchandise and lifestyle products, at most competitive prices. (http://www.saharaqshop.com/QShop.aspx).
4. That as per the website of the Sahara India Parivar- “Sahara India Pariwar is a major entity on the corporate scene having diversified business interests that include Finance, Infrastructure & Housing, Media & Entertainment, Consumer Merchandise Retail Venture, Manufacturing and Information Technology.” (http://www.sahara.in/overview.html).
5. That the Press Release of Sahara India Parivar dated 15/08/2012 related with Sahara Q Shop present on the company website http://www.sahara.in/2012/press07.html says- “Sahara launches its mega Quality Consumer Merchandise Retail Business under the brand name of ‘Sahara Q Shop’ Our aim behind this launch of pure and best products is to gradually kill Adulteration in India. ‘Sahara Q Shop’ provides a comprehensive range of products under 73 different categories with 800 SKUs in Staples, Processed Foods, Personal Care Products, Home Care Products, General Merchandise and Lifestyle Products at most competitive prices” It also says- “First Phase Launch – 15th August in 60 Towns and cities in 5 states – Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Rajasthan, Bihar and Jharkhand, Pan India plan to launch at 998 towns & Cities by March 2013.”
6. That a few days after the launch of this Sahara Q shop scheme by Sahara India Parivar, the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Sahara India Real Estate Company vs Securities & Exchange Board Of India (SEBI, for short) & others dated 31/08 2012 in Civil Appeal No. 9833 of 2011 was announced which ordered the Sahara conglomerate to refund more than $3 billion it had raised from millions of small investors through Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Limited and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Limited, reaffirming an order from the SEBI, which had said the process violated rules. The Hon’ble Supreme Court also ordered Sahara to pay 15 percent interest to investors on their deposits.
7. The Hon’ble Supreme Court generally upheld the order of SEBI dated 23/06/2011 which came to the conclusion that Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures (OFCDs, for short) issued by the above two companies would come within the definition of “securities” as defined under Section 2(h) of Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 (for short ‘SCR Act’). SEBI also found that the OFCDs issued, by definition, design and characteristics intrinsically and essentially, were debentures and the Saharas had designed the OFCDs to invite subscription from the public at large through their agents, private offices and information memorandum. SEBI concluded that OFCDs issued were in fact public issues and the Saharas were bound to comply with Section 73 of the Companies Act, in compliance with the parameters provided by the first proviso to Section 67(3) of the Companies Act. SEBI took the view that OFCDs issued by Saharas should have been listed on a recognized stock exchange and ought to have followed the disclosure requirement and other investors’ protection norms.
8. That the Hon’ble Supreme Court upheld the view of SEBI the Parliament has conferred powers on it under Section 55A(b) of the Companies Act to administer such issues of securities and Saharas were not justified in raising crores and crores of rupees on the premise that that OFCDs issued by them, were by way of private placement. It also seemed to agree with the SEBI order that the Saharas had contravened the provisions of Sections 56, 73, 117A, 117B and 117C of the Companies Act and also various clauses of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Disclosure and Investor Protection) Guidelines, 2000 (DIP Guidelines, for short). SEBI also held that SHICL had not complied with the provisions of Regulations 4(2), 5(1), 5(7), 6, 7, 16(1), 20(1), 25, 26, 36, 37, 46 and 57 of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2009 (ICDR Regulations, for short). Having found so, SEBI directed Saharas to refund the money collected under the Prospectus dated 13/03/2008 and 06/10/2009 to all such investors who had subscribed to their OFCDs, with interest, which the Hon’ble Supreme Court upheld in the above-mentioned Civil Appeal.
9. That after the announcement of this order, the petitioner No 1 and 2 came to get news about another new venture of Sahara India Parivar where it was being alleged that just like Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Limited and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Limited, money was being raised by Sahara India in contravention of the various provisions of the Companies Act, DIP Guidelines, ICDR Regulations, SCR Act etc.
10. That the petitioners No 1 and 2 were told that this time Sahara India was collecting money through the so-called Consumer products network, called the Sahara Q Shop where it was making the investors believe through its large network of around 10 lakh agents, stationed in more than 2900 branch offices, all over the country that they would be getting a good return through their investment in Sahara Q shop.
11. That the petitioners No 1 and 2 were told that Sahara India was preferring this circuitous and round-about way to raise and collect public money in the garb of getting advance from the customers for buying a complete range of goods of this company chosen from their brochures. Thus, apparently the Sahara Q shop was collecting “global advance” for bringing a person in the fold of consumers who would become a part of the consumer network and would get entitled to buy all kinds of products ranging into different fields but in reality it was nothing more than raising of public money in this new garb.
12. That, petitioner No 1 and 2 were told that by adopting this round-about method Sahara India was raising money which apparently would keep it away from the regulatory framework of SEBI.
13. That this was truly alarming news to the petitioners No 1 and 2, particularly in the aftermath of the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 31/08/2012.
14. That their public concern and social awareness made petitioner No 1 and 2 go more deeper in this matter.
15. That for this reason, they decided to buy one such “Bond” (or by whatever word it might be called) each.
16. That the two petitioners enquired further in this matter and were told that the minimum amount that can be invested is Rs. 1000/ (One thousand only).
17. That hence the two petitioners sent Sri Sunil Kumar Singh, a police person working in the office of Petitioner No 1 to Aliganj branch of the Sahara Q shop office on 25/10/2012 (Thursday) at around 11.30 AM to get exact details about the investment modality.
18. That Sri Sunil Singh went to Aliganj branch and got two forms for “investment” at this office which the petitioners were told to fill up and produce along with an Identity proof and address proof and Rs. 1000 each.
19. That while in the Sahara Q shop office, Sri Sunil Singh also made a call from his phone no 072757-75052 to mobile phone no 094155-34526 of petitioner No 1 and made him talk to some employee of Sahara Q shop. This employee told petitioner No 1 that this was an investment scheme where he would be getting around Rs. 2335/ for an investment of Rs. 1000, after a period of six years.
20. That the next date, on 26/10/2012 (Friday) Sri Jaya Prakash Kanaujia and Sri Syed Shabbar Raza, two persons working in the office of petitioner No 1 were sent to Aliganj branch of the Sahara Q shop office to get one “bond” each for petitioner No 1 and 2 after depositing a sum of Rs. 1000 each.
21. That Sri Kanaujia and Sri Shabbar Raza brought two “bonds” (investment recipts) with recipt no 071034485933 (in the name of petitioner No 1) and 071034485933 (in the name of petitioner No 2) from the Saahar Q shop which the Sahara Q shop staff backdated to 22/10/2012. (Annexure No 1)
22. That on coming back from Sahara Q shop, Sri Kanaujia and Sri Shabbar Raza presented a small report before petitioner No 1 where they said- “आपने मुझे दिनांक 26-10-2012 को दो फार्म भरकर रू0 1000/- 1000/- के दिये थे जिसमे एक फार्म में आपका नाम तथा दूसरे में डा0 नूतन ठाकुर का नाम अंकित था. उक्त दोनों फार्मों को जमा करने हेतु मैं व आरक्षी श्री शब्बर रजा गया था. उक्त दोनों फार्मों को मैने सेक्टर कार्यालय अलीगंज में जमा किया है. मैने सहारा इण्डिया लि0 अलीगंज लखनऊ के शाख प्रबन्धक श्री काजी सरफराज अहमद से जानकारी की तो उन्होंने बताया कि रू0 1000/- छः साल में लगभग 2335/- मिलेगा और जो समान क्रय करेंगे उसका पैसा अलग से देना पड़ेगा. मुझे प्रबन्धक द्वारा जो रसीद दी गयी है जिसमे छः साल में रू0 2335/- के लगभग हो जायेगा जो रसीद में अंकित नहीं है. मैने इस सम्बन्ध में प्रबन्धक से पूछा तो उन्होंने बताया कि सर्टीफिकेट बाद में मिलेगा जिसमें अंकित होगा कि छः साल में लगभग रू0 2335/- मिलेगा” (meaning thereby that though it has not been so written anywhere in the “bond”, the Branch Manager at Aliganj sector office said that the amount of Rs. 1000 would become Rs. 2335 after a period of 6 years).
23. That it is this situation that the petitioners No 1 and 2 find extremely disturbing and problem some.
24. That it was during this period that petitioner No 3 came to know of the endeavours being made by petitioners No 1 and 2 and he approached them to present them a copy of the letter dated 29/10/2012 written by petitioner No 1 to the Branch Manager, Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Limited, Alambagh, Lucknow. (Annexure No 2)
25. That the case of petitioner No 3 is that he had invested a total sum of Rs. 2, 32,000/ in four Adobe bonds of Rs. 58,000/ each which he had bought on 26/02/2011 through control Nos 17024001018-17024001021 (4 adobe bonds of Rs. 58,000 each).
26. That later when the petitioner No 3 came to know of the order dated 31/08/2012 of the Hon’ble Supreme Court as regards Adobe Bonds etc, he immediately wrote to the Branch Manager, Alambagh through his letter dated 28/09/2012 to return back his money invested in these four bonds at 15% interest.
27. That instead of complying with the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the Branch Manager told the petitioner No 3 that his “Bonds” had been converted into Sahara Q shop “bonds”.
28. That petitioner No 3 is deeply perturbed and badly affected by this one-sided act of Sahara India whereby the money belonging to his later father Sri Chandra Prakash Kanuajia is being misused and misutilized by Sahara India on its own whims and fancies, in complete defiance of the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
29. That when the petitioner No 3 met petitioner No 1 and 2, they together decided that they would now pursue the matter on a much larger scale, bringing these facts before all the concerned authorities, so that not only is the personal interest of petitioner No 3 gets saved but the interests of millions of innocent investors/persons/customers whose money is being invested in Sahara Q shop through the assurance of providing Rs. 2335 for every deposit of Rs. 1000 “global advance’ and the interests of all those investors of Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Limited and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Limited, including petitioner No 3 who has invested his father’s life-time savings in Adobe Bonds, gets saved.
30. That it is for the above mentioned reasons that the three petitioners approach all the appropriate suitable forums, viz. the SEBI, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, the Registrar of Companies, Mumbai, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the Reserve Bank of India along with the Prime Minister’s office, presenting all the above-mentioned facts to take all the appropriate and necessary actions in this case, related with the following two facets of the so-called Sahara Q shop-
(a) Orally saying and assuring a return of Rs. 2335 on every investment/bond/purchase of Rs. 1000 bond/coupon/customer copy while saying in the “General Terms and Conditions” of its customer copy-“ Global Advance of minimum of Rs. 10900 for buying complete range of goods but there will be no interest ever on advance amount” and thus trying to bye-pass the authority of various regulatory authorities, including SEBI, the RBI, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and whosoever else is concerned
(b) Forcibly and unilaterally converting the bonds/shares/scrips/investments etc in Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Limited and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Limited to Sahara Q shop without any consent of the investor, in defiance of the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court
31. That with the above facts and circumstances, the three petitioners pray before all the concerned authorities to whom this representation is marked to take all possible necessary actions as per the provisions of law to stop this situation of making mockery of law and to bring regulation and order in the financial market, thus saving the innocent investors.
1. Amitabh Thakur
2. Nutan Thakur
3. Ashish Verma
5/426, Viram Khand,
1. The Principal Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister of India, New Delhi
2. The Governor, Reserve Bank of India
3. The Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi
4. The Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi
5. Registrar of Companies (ROC), Mumbai