Apex court rejects Sahara chief's bail plea

Supreme Court insists on sound proposal for refund to investors

Apex court rejects Sahara chief's bail plea

“The key is in your hand. If you want, you can open it,” the Supreme Court on Thursday told jailed Sahara boss Subrata Roy while rejecting his plea for an interim bail to celebrate Holi and meet his ailing mother.

The apex court further told him that his application for release could be considered only if he came up with a proposal to refund over Rs 20,000 crore to investors.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani made an entreaty to the court by submitting that Roy should be released on bail and he is ready to abide by any condition put by the bench.

“Let the person enjoy Holi with his family. His mother is much more serious now. The offence alleged against him is bailable and it (the offence of contempt) is always compoundable,” he said.

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar, which took up for hearing a writ petition filed by Roy describing his jail as “illegal and nullity”, asked the counsel if he had any proposal to refund the money. “I am ready to pay Rs 2,500 crore,” Jethmalani said speaking on Roy’s behalf.

“But this proposal, we have already rejected earlier,” retorted the bench, indicating that he had not been cooperating with the court.

“This amount could be taken as my condition for bail,” Jethmalani pleaded, adding that he was trying his best to find out the solution.

The bench, however, was not convinced. “If you come up with a proposal, we will consider it. The key is in your hand. If you want, you can open it anytime. We will allow your plea,” the bench said.

“Prayer made by Jethmalani, learned senior counsel for the petitioner, for bail cannot be considered at this juncture, since no written proposal for payment in compliance with the directions issued by this court has been made so far,” the court said in its order.

The bench posted the matter for hearing on March 25 on the issue of maintainability of the writ petition challenging the March 4 order, which sent Roy, along with two other directors of Sahara companies, to jail here.

At the outset, the bench told Jethmalani, “We have gone through the petition. Nothing embarrasses us. We can look into it including maintainability.”

Jethmalani had on Wednesday said that it was a little embarrassing for him to argue before the court that it should have not been passed the order which was “wrong”.
Initiating the argument, the counsel for Roy said the petitioner could not offer much with his incarceration and things had become worse.

The court, however, reminded him that it did not pass any order for one and half years and waited for him to comply with its earlier directions to refund the money.
Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for SEBI, opposed Roy’s contention.

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