SC justifies order sending Roy to jail

Says its order to make upfront payment was not a 'bail bond'

SC justifies order sending Roy to jail

Undeterred by strong criticism, the Supreme Court on Thursday reinforced that Subrata Roy and two directors of his company, who were jailed for not complying with the order to pay back Rs 20,000 crore to investors, had to deposit at least Rs 10,000 crore to show their bona fide for their release.

A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar brushed aside the criticism that the court’s order to pay Rs 10,000 crore for Roy and the others’ release was, in fact, a Rs 10,000 crore bail bond. “When a suggestion is made that it is Rs 10,000 crore bail bond, it is irrelevant and incorrect as the amount is a part of the payment that you have to make. It is not that a demand is made. It is towards the principal amount. It will show your bona fide for release,” the bench said.

The apex court had last week set out the condition of depositing Rs 5,000 crore in the SC registry and an equal amount as bank guarantee for the release of Roy and others on bail. 

Sahara head Roy, along with two directors of his company — Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary, was remanded in judicial custody to Tihar jail on March 4 by the apex court after he failed to give a concrete proposal for the refund of Rs 20,000 crore of the investors’ money. 

The court had noted that the Sahara Group “adopted various dilatory tactics” to avoid implementation of the orders of the apex court passed on August 31 and December 5, 2012 and February 25, 2013 on refund. Almost a month after, the SC clarified it had sent Roy to jail not as a punishment but only to ensure that its order on refunding investors’ money was complied with. 

“Our order of March 4 is only for enforcement. It is not a punishment under the Contempt of Court Act. The contempt case is still pending. We will deal with punishment also when our order is complied with,” the bench said.

“So, the suggestion regarding a maximum of six months in jail under contempt charges is irrelevant at this stage,” the bench added.

The Sahara counsel had, on the last occasion, said that sending Roy to jail was a void order passed in flagrant violation of the Constitution. It was an order with reasonable apprehension of bias against Sahara and concerned persons, they had argued.

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