Subrata Roy, founder of Sahara Group and owner of former IPL team, passes away

Subrata Roy, founder of Sahara Group and owner of former Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Pune Warriors India, passed away in Mumbai on Tuesday after prolonged illness. He was 75.

According to a company statement, he was admitted to the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital & Medical Research Institute in Mumbai on Sunday after his health deteriorated.

He passed away at the hospital at 10.30 PM on Tuesday due to a cardiorespiratory arrest following an extended battle with complications arising from metastatic malignancy, hypertension and diabetes, the statement added.

The Sahara India Pariwar, founded by Roy in 1978, was the title sponsor of the Indian national cricket and hockey teams and Bangladesh’s cricket team. In 2011, the group also bought a stake in Formula One team Force India.

Having created a huge business empire across retail, real estate and financial services sectors, Roy was at the centre of a huge controversy and faced multiple regulatory and legal battles in connection with his group firms that were accused of circumventing regulations to create multi-level marketing schemes.

Among various cases faced by the group, capital markets regulator Sebi had ordered Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) in 2011 to refund the money raised from investors through certain bonds known as Optionally Fully Convertible Bonds (OFCDs) after the regulator ruled that the funds were raised by the two firms in violation of its rules and regulations.

After a long process of appeals and cross-appeals, the Supreme Court on August 31, 2012 upheld Sebi’s directions asking the two firms to refund the money collected from investors with 15 per cent interest.

Sahara was eventually asked to deposit an estimated Rs. 24,000 crore with Sebi for further refund to investors, though the group always maintained it amounted to “double payment” as it had already refunded more than 95 per cent of investors directly.

An order to arrest Roy in 2014 was issued after his failure to appear before the apex court in the contempt case arising out of non-refund of Rs. 20,000 crore to investors by two of his companies.

He was later granted bail but troubles continued for his various businesses.

(With inputs from PTI)

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