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Sahara hotels likely to be bought by Sultan of Brunei

New Delhi, Aug 18 (): Sahara boss Subrata Roy is close to finalizing the sale of three hotels abroad with the Sultan of Brunei.

Sultan of Brunei has emerged as the highest bidder for Sahara’s Plaza Hotel and Dream Hotel in New York and Grosvenor House in London. Sahara chief Subrata Roy is now lodged in Tihar jail and by selling his three hotels, he will raise money for his bail.

According to the Supreme Court, Sahara owes Rs 20,000 crore to depositors and the court sentenced him to imprisonment till he settles the dues. For the bail, it demanded Rs 10,000 crore to be deposited. Failing to raise the money within India, it got the nod to sell overseas properties.

Roy finally got a special enclosure in the jail to set up an office with executive staff to directly negotiate with the buyers. He has told the court that he will close the deal in another fifteen days. Sources said that the Sultan’s affiliate investment firm has come close to closing the deal for $2.2 billion for the three hotels. This would come to little over Rs 10,000 crore needed for the bail money. After clearing the pledge amount due to Bank of China, how much money will come in has to be seen.

Cyrus Poonawala, owner of Serum Institute based in Pune is in a bid for the hotel in London. He has offered Rs 550 crore. Poonawala is not keen on Sahara’s other hotels in US. Sahara Roy’s son Sushanto is dealing with the bids.

Poonawala admits that he is at a disadvantage because Sahara will look to closing all three hotel deals as Bank of China who has loaned the money is asking to sell all three and redeem the pledge. Poonawala says that being an Indian company it is better equipped to deal with RBI and Sebi.

Sultan’s anti-LGBT law in Brunei has made equal right activists in US issue a boycott of his hotels Bel Air and Beverly Hills. They would extend the ban to the three Sahara hotels if Sultan acquires them and asked the Indian business group to not sell the iconic hotels to Sultan. As Sahara is facing a big financial crisis, the deal will go through.

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