Sahara Group depositors may now have a reason to smile as the Union Government launched the CRCS-Sahara Refund Portal on July 18 this year to enable crores of depositors of the company to claim back their money.
During the launch of the refund portal, Union Minister Amit Shah said, “The process of returning the money of depositors, which was stuck in four cooperative societies of Sahara Group, has started with the launch of Sahara Refund Portal.”
Depositors who qualify from four societies under the Sahara group, namely Sahara Credit Cooperative Society, Saharayn Universal Multipurpose Society, Humara India Credit Cooperative Society, and Stars Multipurpose Cooperative Society have the opportunity to request a refund through the CRCS Sahara Refund Portal.
The total amount of money currently held
According to a written response to a query in the Lok Sabha in December 2022, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman revealed that a total of 2.33 crore investors had deposited an amount of ₹19,400.87 crore in Sahara India Real Estate Corporation. Additionally, 75 lakh investors had deposited ₹6380.50 crore in Sahara Housing Investment Corporation.
The total amount of money to be refunded
During the initial phase, the refund portal will distribute a sum of up to ₹5000 crore to depositors. However, in this first phase, each individual depositor will only be eligible to receive a maximum of ₹10,000.
On a trial basis, investors will initially receive a refund of ₹10,000. Nevertheless, the Minister further clarified that the refund amount of ₹10,000 is not the ultimate or conclusive sum that will be reimbursed to the depositors. If the trial is successful, the refund amount may gradually increase. This indicates that depositors can anticipate additional refunds in the future through this initiative undertaken by the Union Government.
The refund portal allows registration for up to 1.07 crore investors who can claim a maximum of ₹10,000 during the initial phase. Additionally, there are four crore depositors eligible to receive up to ₹10,000.
Shah emphasised that once this initiative proves successful, additional measures will be implemented to address the claims of depositors who have larger amounts of money stuck in Sahara Group's cooperative societies. The entire refund process will be conducted online.
What is the estimated duration for receiving a refund?
The funds will be credited to the bank accounts of the claimants within 45 days.
Conditions for applying to the Sahara Refund Portal
Depositors must link their Aadhaar with their mobile numbers and bank accounts in order to make a claim. Additionally, they are required to provide receipt details. Shah clarified that depositors must download a form, complete it, and then upload it on the portal to initiate the refund process.
Proposal of disbursal after Supreme Court order
On March 29, 2023, the Supreme Court of India issued an order stating that ₹5000 crore from the “Sahara-SEBI Refund Account” should be transferred to the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies. This amount is intended for disbursing to the valid depositors of the Sahara Group of Cooperative Societies to fulfil their rightful dues.
Following the aforementioned Supreme Court order, the Government had previously declared on March 29 that the funds would be reimbursed to 10 crore investors associated with the four cooperative societies of the Sahara Group within a span of nine months. This announcement was made in response to the order.