Apex court dashes Subrata Roy's hope of early release

SC also rejects request to be lodged in a guest house instead of Tihar Jail

Apex court dashes Subrata Roy's hope of early release

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dashed the hopes of Sahara chief Subrata Roy to be out of jail by declining his plea to soften the condition of paying Rs 5,000 crore in cash and a bank guarantee of the same amount for his release.

A bench of Justices T S Thakur and A K Sikri also rejected his request to be lodged in a guest house instead of Tihar jail here for enabling him to meet prospective buyers of his properties to raise the amount.

The court, however, lifted the embargo put in November last on sale of movable and immovable properties and encashment of fixed deposits etc.

Roy, along with two other directors of Sahara, are in jail since March 4 for their failure to comply with the apex court’s order to deposit approximately Rs 33,000 crore with the Sebi. The money was collected by Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Limited (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Limited (SHICL) in the name of Optional Fully Convertible Debentures (OFCD).

The bench rejected the application filed on behalf of Roy for modifying the conditions of re-payment fixed in the apex court’s March 26 order for interim bail in view of the “background in which the contemnors came to be committed to the jail” and that “they have at all earlier stages tried to adopt dilatory tactics and avoided to comply with the orders”.

With regard to the plea for keeping Roy in house arrest, the court said that similar requests made by him earlier did not cut much ice, secondly, he did not suffer from any medical condition which required any such order. It further pointed out that permission for those who required to visit him in jail was already granted.

“It is noteworthy that the total amount to be deposited is between Rs 33000 crore to Rs 35,000 crores. To show their bona fides, the contemnors have been directed to deposit less than 1/3 rd of that amount as a condition for bail. After all, even when this part of the order is complied with and the contemnors are set free, they will have to arrange the deposit of the balance amount, which, again, is very substantial,” the court said.

The court referred to the pending proceedings in the contempt matter to a three-judge bench in view of its importance and appointed senior advocate F S Nariman as amicus curiae.

 Even though the Sahara group counsel pointed out that Nariman had earlier appeared for them, the court decided to wait for his response to his appointment.

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