Unable to pay Rs 10k cr: Sahara

Unable to pay Rs 10k cr: Sahara

The Sahara Group told the Supreme Court on Thursday that it was “virtually impossible” to deposit Rs 10,000 crore in order to secure the release of its head Subrata Roy and two other directors.

The group’s lawyers also raised an apprehension of “bias” and “prejudice” against Roy, during a hearing before a bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar.

The apex court had on Wednesday told Sahara to deposit Rs 5,000 crore in cash in the court’s registry and an equal amount as bank guarantee for Roy’s release on bail.

Roy and two directors, Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary, were sent to judicial custody to Tihar jail on March 4 by the apex court after he failed to give a concrete proposal to refund of Rs 20,000 crore to investors. The court had noted that the Sahara Group “adopted various dilatory tactics” to disobey orders of the court.

Raising the argument on writ petition filed by Roy, the Sahara counsel said, “The task you (court) have given to us is virtually impossible to achieve. Conditions should not be so onerous that they become unconstitutional, as has happened in this case...sending them to jail was a void order passed in flagrant violation of the Constitution. It is an order with reasonable apprehension of bias against Sahara and concerned persons.”

The counsel said that the order of judicial custody was “terribly wrong” and violated civil liberties without giving affected persons even a chance to be heard. “Our custody today stands without being held guilty of any charges; without a notice; without a hearing. Our clients are in custody for 23 days now and are being punished without any charge having been established against them. There is a reasonable apprehension that this bench is prejudiced,” the counsel alleged.

The counsel urged the judges on the bench to either acknowledge they had committed a mistake and recall their detention order of March 4, or send the case to another bench.

They urged the judges to release the matter from their bench so that the “illegality and unconstitutionality” of their order could be examined. The court, however, fixed the matter for further arguments on April 3.

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