SC summons Sahara chief Subrata Roy, rejects exemption plea

25 February 2014

Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy The Supreme Court has rejected the plea of Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy seeking exemption from personal appearance before it and instead directed Roy and three other directors of the group to appear before the court tomorrow at 2 pm.

The Supreme Court summoned the Sahara chief after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) filed a contempt petition against Sahara during the hearing of the plaint in connection with the failure of his companies to refund Rs20,000 to investors (See: SEBI moves SC against Sahara chief Subrata Roy for contempt of court).

Appearing for Roy, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani submitted that he [Roy] will make the payment and that he may be exempted from personally appearing in the court on 26 February.

A bench comprising justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar, however, said he was summoned specifically because he did not comply with its order. In fact, the court observed that Sahara group has been defying the apex court's order for the last one-and-a-half years.

The bench had, on 20 February, come down heavily on the Sahara group for not refunding Rs20,000 crore of investor money despite its order and summoned Roy and the two directors of group firms Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIREC) and Sahara India Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHIC), Ravi Shankar Dubey, Ashok Roy Choudhary and Vandana Bhargava, to personally appear in the court tomorrow.

The SC has, meanwhile, allowed market regulator SEBI to proceed with the sale of the properties of the group whose sale deeds were handed over to the market regulator to recover Rs20,000 crore.

"Those properties you can sell. We allow you to sell them and recover the money. If they are encumbered properties then you can file criminal case against the company. The case must be brought to a logical conclusion," the bench had said.

Rejecting Roy's plea for personal exemption, the Supreme Court said, "It involves not only the integrity of the Supreme Court but judges and lawyers involved in the matter. It is said the order of the Supreme Court is not being complied with. We may retire but we will ensure and make sure our orders are complied with."

"We have lost faith in you. You come to court and we know where to send you," the top court had said on Thursday.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had barred Roy and his directors from travelling abroad, until his company furnish all the relevant documents pertaining to the source of money it claims to have repaid investors (Can't leave India without showing cash sources, SC tells Sahara's Roy and  SC asks Sahara to reveal source of Rs22,885-cr refund or face probe). 

The Supreme Court had, in October 2012, ordered the Sahara Group to refund the Rs24,000 crore it collected from millions of small investors through optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCDs) to finance projects of its two real estate forms belonging to the group (Sahara fails to refund Rs24,000 crore; SC directs SEBI action).

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