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Amit Shah Launches ‘CRCS-Sahara Refund Portal’ to Expedite Refunds for Sahara Group Depositors

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Amit Shah Launches 'CRCS-Sahara Refund Portal' to Expedite Refunds for Sahara Group Depositors

On 17th July 2023, Union Minister of Cooperation Amit Shah launched the ‘Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies (CRCS) – Sahara Refund Portal’ aimed at aiding over 10 crore depositors of the Sahara Group in reclaiming their money within 45 days of registration in the portal.

  • The refund portal has been developed by a subsidiary of Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI) Ltd, a Systemically Important Non-Deposit taking Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC-ND-SI).
  • In Phase I, around 1.7 crore investors will be beneficiaries, and claims up to ₹10,000 will be prioritised for settlement. The refunds will be credited to the Aadhaar-linked bank accounts of the investors within a 45-days of registration in the portal.


Between March 2010 and January 2014, four cooperative societies  linked to the Sahara group of companies registered under the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act, 2002.

i. Sahara Credit Cooperative Society Limited (Lucknow)

ii. Saharayan Universal Multipurpose Society Limited (Bhopal)

iii. Humara India Credit Cooperative Society Limited (Kolkata)

iv. Stars Multipurpose Cooperative Society (Hyderabad)

Fraudulent activities:

i. Many complaints were received from across the country regarding non-payment to the depositors. The Central Registrar directed the societies to pay the unpaid amount to the investors and stopped the societies from taking fresh deposits and renewing existing ones,

ii. To address this, the government invited Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Enforcement Directorate(ED), Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) and Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) along with other stakeholders, to work together and create a system that would benefit the affected small investors.

  • In response, all the agencies jointly filed a petition in the Supreme Court. The court’s landmark decision established that if there is unanimous agreement among the agencies, a committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge would supervise the reimbursement process for the affected investors.

Supreme Court’s decision:

Following a petition presented by the Ministry of Cooperation, on 29th March 2023, the Supreme Court issued an order for the reimbursement of funds from the Sahara-SEBI refund account to approximately 10 crore investors

  • The court ordered that out of the balance amount in the Sahara-SEBI refund account, ₹5,000 crore be transferred to the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies.

A bench headed by justice MR Shah ordered this payment to be made under the supervision of the retired judge R. Subhash Reddy, and with the assistance of advocate Gaurav Agarwal, the Central Registrar would complete the payment process in 9 months.

What is the Sahara-SEBI refund account?

i. In 2011, SEBI issued an order to Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) to reimburse the funds they had raised from investors through a type of bonds called Optionally Fully Convertible Bonds (OFCD).

  • SEBI claimed that the funds were raised in violation of SEBI (Disclosure and Investor Protection) Guidelines, 2000, and various regulations of the SEBI (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2009.

ii. In August 2012, the Supreme Court upheld SEBI’s directive, affirming that the two companies must refund the collected money to the investors along with 15 per cent interest.

  • As a result, Sahara was required to deposit Rs. 24,000 crore with SEBI for further reimbursement to the investors. Currently Rs. 24,979.67 crore remains unutilized in the Sahara-SEBI Refund Account.

About Ministry of Cooperation:

Union Minister – Amit Shah (Constituency – Gandhinagar, Gujarat)

Minister of State(MoS) –  B. L. Verma