Subrata Roy sent to police custody till March 4

Subrata Roy sent to police custody till March 4
Cornered and left with no option, Sahara chief Subroto Roy surrendered today to Lucknow police which arrested him while executing a non-bailable warrant issued against him for his failure to appear before the Supreme Court.

On a day of dramatic developments topped by suspense and mystery, the 65-year-old chief of the Sahara group was taken to the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Anand Kumar Yadav, who rejected his request to be allowed to be under house arrest and remanded him to police custody.

Interestingly, for more than six hours Roy remained in his home after the arrest till the police took him in a convoy of high-end cars to the CJM's court, which sat specially on a holiday on account of 'shivratri'.

But it was not clear as to where the police would keep him till it produces him in the Supreme Court and a lawyer said it was left to the discretion of the police.

The CJM directed that it was police's responsibility to produce Roy before the Supreme Court by the deadline of 2 PM on March 4 for alleged contempt for non appearance in on Thursday in a case of non-refund of over Rs.20,000 crore to investors.

The two-day cat-and-mouse game ended this morning when Roy, who police failed to find  at his residence in "Sahara City" in the posh Gomti Nagar area during a raid yesterday, issued a statement and called police to his home.'

A battery of lawyers also failed to get Roy any relief after the Supreme Court today refused to take up his application for recall of the NBW.  A last-ditch effort was made before the court before lunch break but the court refused to entertain any plea. 

Roy's counsel Vinod Shahi said the Sahara chief was in police custody.  It was left to the police's discretion to keep him whereever they deem fit, he said.

Early in the morning, Roy issued a two-page statement claiming that he was not absconding and was ready to "unconditionally" follow the Supreme Court's direction.

"Roy has been arrested and will be produced in court later today," SP Trans-Gomti Habibul Hasan said.

Minutes after his arrest, Roy's son Seemanto addressed a hurriedly-called press conference in Delhi and said his father was cooperating with the authorities and he had wilfully submitted before the police.

There were initially conflicting reports with speculation that Roy could himself be present at the press meet in Delhi. A team of Delhi police at the hotel venue added to the suspense. Another report said that he may still be in Lucknow.

Seemanto also said that arrest would not impact the business of the group, which claims to have a networth of over Rs 68,000 crore with lakhs of employees.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani told a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice K S Radhakrishnan that Roy is in police custody in Lucknow and pleaded for recall of NBW issued on February 26.

He submitted that the special bench, which is hearing the case, should take up the application today itself. But, his plea was turned down as the judge said it is not possible for the special bench to assemble today.

The day started with Subrata Roy issuing a signed two-page statement, claiming he was not absconding and was ready to "unconditionally follow" Supreme Court's direction.

Before lunch, senior lawyer Ravishankar Prasad made another attempt get Roy out of police custody just before the lunch break.

However, without  the bench rose for the recess without heeding to his plea.
Roy had sought exemption from personal appearance on the ground of ill-health of his 92-year-old mother.

The Sahara chief had yesterday approached the apex court tendering an "unconditional apology" for his non-appearance in a contempt case and sought recall of the NBW.

Moving the court a day after it issued the NBW to be executed by March 4, Roy admitted that he had "erred" by his non-appearance under a bonafide belief that the court will permit him personal exemption from appearance for one day.

Besides seeking recall of the NBW, Roy had sought a stay of the operation of its order during pendency of his plea.

The order to arrest Roy was issued after his failure to appear before the apex court in the contempt case arising out of non-refund of Rs 20,000 crore to investors by two of his companies.

However, the three directors of Sahara Group, who were also summoned along with Roy, had appeared in the court.

The court had on February 20 come down heavily on the Sahara group for not refunding the investors' money despite its order and summoned Roy, Ravi Shankar Dubey, Ashok Roy Choudhary and Vandana Bhargava, directors of its firms Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIREC) and Sahara India Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHIC) to be personally present before it. 

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