Subrata sent to Tihar

Sahara chief fails to give proposal for cash refund

Subrata sent to Tihar

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sent Sahara chief Subrata Roy to judicial custody after he failed to furnish a concrete proposal for refund of investors’ money. 

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar noted that Sahara group “adopted various dilatory tactics” to avoid implementation of the apex court orders passed on August 31 and December 5, 2012 and February 25, 2013.

Roy was sent to the Tihar jail here, along with Sahara directors Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey. Another director, Vandana Bhargava, escaped the court’s wrath for being “a woman” and “enabling the contemnors” to propose an acceptable solution for execution of the order.

The Uttar Pradesh Police brought Roy from Lucknow and produced him in the court around noon. High drama ensued when a man splashed black ink on Roy. The man was thrashed by unidentified people before being detained. Roy, dressed in his trademark jacket with black tie, however, maintained his composition even after being smeared with ink.  

During the two-hour hearing, Roy, with his hands folded, apologised unconditionally to the court for not complying with the orders. He promised that the orders would be followed. “I have faith in you. Punish me if I don’t comply with your order,” he said. “We will sell our properties to refund the money.”

The court was not convinced. “You have pushed us to the corner. Had you been serious, this situation would not have arrived,” the bench said.

Roy and the two directors were sent to judicial custody till March 11. The bench clarified that the present order was not for contempt, but under the extraordinary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under articles 129 and 142 of the Constitution to maintain the rule of law.  

Roy was taken into custody in Lucknow after the apex court declined to quash a non-bailable warrant issued against him on February 26.

His lawyers had expected the apex court to discharge him on production. In contrast, the court asked him to give a concrete proposal for refunding the money. Roy’s plea that the group could sell its properties to pay back the investors did not impress the bench. It said payment in cash was contrary to the law and they expected demand drafts or cheques.

The court allowed the group to request for an early hearing “if a concrete and acceptable proposal can be offered”.

“Sufficient opportunities have been given to the contemnors to fully comply with those orders and purge the contempt committed by them but rather than availing of the same, they have adopted various dilatory tactics to delay the implementation of the orders,” the bench said.  Referring to various documents adduced by Sahara in the last three years, the court noted that the group made “unacceptable statements and affidavits all through” and also in the contempt proceedings initiated at Sebi’s instance for breach of the court’s August 2012 verdict to refund money to investors.

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