The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside a Delhi High Court's "unwarranted and extraordinary" order by which it had stayed the investigation into companies related to the Sahara Group and also the lookout circulars issued against its chief Subrata Roy and his wife.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Bela M Trivedi said the Delhi High Court was not correct in staying the investigation at an interim stage.
The top court allowed an appeal by the SFIO and asked the High Court to examine the matter.
After hearing Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on behalf of the SFIO and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, for the Sahara companies, the bench said, "the Delhi High Court's order staying the probe against Sahara group of companies needs to be set aside as it stultified the whole investigation."
Mehta, for his part, submitted that the total money involved is Rs one lakh crore and considering layers and layers of companies involved, the probe could not be completed in three months and it took more time.
"We issued a lookout circular so that they do not flee the country," he said.
The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) questioned the validity of the High Court's order of December 13, 2021.
The High Court had then stayed the operation, implementation, and execution of the investigation orders of October 31, 2018, and October 27, 2020, passed by the Central government and stayed all subsequent actions and proceedings initiated pursuant thereof including coercive proceedings and look out notices issued against the respondents.
Sahara firm and others claimed before the High Court that the first order was passed on October 31, 2018, for an investigation into the affairs of three companies -- Sahara Q Shop Unique Products Range Ltd, Sahara Q Gold Mart Ltd, and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd.
However, subsequently, no reason was assigned, why it was necessary to begin an investigation against the six other companies namely Aamby Valley Ltd, Qing Amby City Developers Corporation Ltd, Sahara India Commercial Corporation Ltd, Sahara Prime City Ltd, Sahara India Financial Corporation Ltd and Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd.