Hyderabad: In a major respite to the investors, the Supreme Court of India has directed the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to auction the properties of Heera Gold Exim (Heera Group) to settle investors. While passing orders, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said, “Make selling of property as First Task now.”
Justice Kaul noted that the object of economic offences especially the ones wherein a large number of investors are involved is to see to it that they get back the money. He told ASG Raju to take assistance from the company to identify the claims and the properties to settle the claims.
However, counsel for the Heera group once again informed the top court that they have no objection as long as any of the properties attached numbering 87 are sold by a transparent manner and as per a reasonable market price and they will also assist the SFIO in that process.
Reading from the status report filed by him, the additional solicitor general Raju apprised the Bench that as on 3 March 2022, a total of 6022 claims were received.
The Supreme Court had also directed the Telangana State Forensic Laboratory (TSFSL) Lab to render full cooperation and process their work (to retrieve data of the investors) at the earliest as it has already been more than three years.
ASG stays that the petitioners (Heera group) can depute their technical staff under the supervision of their officers to assist them. The petitioners assure that technical staff will report within three days at the SFIO office at Hyderabad.
“We are unable to appreciate as to why the assistance to the fullest extent should not be taken from the petitioners, more so, when for years together, the investigating agency has not been able to complete the task. It is obvious they require the assistance of the petitioners who are willing to give the same and mere apprehensions cannot be an answer.
“We hope this will assist in the investigations proceeding quickly and the claims being verified. SFIO with the help of the petitioner will verify the claimants’ record from the computer record under their supervision. 87 properties of the petitioner will be sold by following proper procedure.” said Justice Kaul
The Counsel for the Heera group had also sought to flag an issue of the income tax authorities having carried out assessment when the petitioners were in custody and in the process, attaching the accounts.