Millennium Post

Sahara to challenge IRDAI order on life insurance biz transfer to ICICI Prudential

Embattled Sahara group on Sunday said it will approach court of law against IRDAI order directing transfer of its life insurance business to ICICI Prudential and alleged that the insurance regulator has "wrongly concluded" that the promoter was no more 'fit and proper' and a sum of Rs 78 crore was siphoned.

In a statement following IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India) order dated July 28, the group said Sahara Life business is being "wrongfully" given to ICICI Prudential Life Insurance.
"Sahara Life is doing business since 2004 and since last 7 years running continuously in profit and has been in absolute and strict compliance of all regulatory norms and directions issued by IRDAI," the group said. It further said Sahara Life's asset is more than its liability and there is not a single complaint of non-payment by any policy holder.
"However it is unfortunate that IRDAI has handed over Sahara Life business to other insurance company ICICI Prudential," the group alleged.
Giving a point-wise rebuttal to the charges og IRDAI, the group said the main allegation talks about the promoter company's promoter shareholder Subrata Roy Sahara, having been incarcerated, which was a judicial custody, and therefore the promoter company of life insurance venture is no more "fit and proper".
This was also the reason of action against Sahara Mutual fund by another regulator SEBI. The group had challenged this SEBI order before the Securities Appellate Tribunal which last week upheld the regulator's order but granted a stay of 6 weeks to allow the company file an appeal before the Supreme Court, which is already hearing a long running case regarding the group.
On IRDAI action, the group said the second allegation is that a sum of 78 crore has been siphoned, "which is wrongly concluded".
"In fact this amount was kept as security deposit to one entity Sahara India who has provided furnished, computerised office accommodation in around 150 places," the group said.
It further said the security deposit is there since Sahara India is not charging any rent, electricity charges etc and this arrangement is very beneficial for Sahara Life, whereas IRDAI has concluded in "such unwise manner".
"This security deposit amount is absolutely repayable to Sahara Life," the statement added.
The group further alleged, "On one hand IRDAI didn't give permission for branch expansion and now IRDAI is alleging that business is not increasing.
"IRDAI appointed administrator for the reason best known to them and the said administrator secretly submitted a report to the IRDAI for transferring the business of Sahara Life to any other entity," it added.

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