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India Bans Sahara Financial From Taking Deposits
June, 05th 2008

India's central bank banned Subrata Roy's Sahara India Financial Corp. Ltd. from accepting deposits for violating rules including failing to pay minimum interest rates. Sahara said it will appeal.

Shares of companies of the group, Sahara Housingfina Corp. and Sahara One Media and Entertainment Ltd., fell. Sahara Housingfina declined 5 percent to 178, and Sahara One dropped 6.9 percent to 202 in Mumbai at 10:42 a.m. local time.

``There will be a sentimental reaction to such moves since the group has huge depositors base,'' said Ajit Sanghvi, director at the Mumbai-based MSS Securities Ltd.

The Reserve Bank of India ordered Sahara, a consumer finance company based in Lucknow, to transfer securities it holds to a bank, according to a statement posted on the central bank's Web site yesterday. India is tightening norms for finance companies that face less stringent regulations on capital requirements and lending than banks.

The central bank raised capital requirements for all finance companies this week to avert ``systemic risk'' because they rely more on short-term funds.

``The Reserve Bank of India has passed an order stopping the acceptance of deposits in a most vindictive and arbitrary manner,'' Sahara said in an e-mailed statement that was confirmed by spokesman Abhijet Sarckar. The company will appeal to the courts, Sarckar said by telephone, without giving a time frame.

Roy's Sahara group owns real estate and media assets after selling its airline division to Jet Airways (India) Ltd. last year for $346 million.

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