Will sell assets to raise money, Sahara chief Roy assures SC

Subrata RoySubrata Roy, the chief of the Sahara Group, and two of its directors will remain in police custody till the next hearing, the Supreme Court said today while hearing a contempt of court case against the company over the non-appearance of Roy when earlier ordered.

Roy, appearing before a bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar, sought more time for organising a Rs20,000-crore deposit with the Securities & Exchange Board of India to refund money to investors in two of its companies, which are accused of having duped small investors.

The court will resume hearing the case on Wednesday.

Subrata Roy said that Sahara will sell its assets to pay up to Rs22,500 crore to SEBI, and the sale of properties could start from Wednesday.

Personally arguing his case, Subrata Roy said that while sale of assets is on, the companies will try to give bank guarantees for the rest of the amount.

Roy added that he wanted one more chance to honour the court order and said that if he failed in this last endeavour, he would come back to stand before the court to take the punishment.

On this, the SC bench asked why the payments were not made for the last 18 months and why Sahara was giving one excuse after the other. "We are not happy with the proposal of Sahara chairman on refund of money. They have not come up with concrete proposal, bank guarantee," the apex court said.

The bench said that sale of assets of Sahara group is the responsibility of the company and the SC would have no role except strictly ensuring compliance of its orders.

The court earlier reluctantly accepted an ''unconditional'' apology tendered by Roy for not appearing before it last Wednesday as ordered.

"I have full faith in you. Punish me if I don't comply with your order," Roy told the court.

The bench accepted Roy's apology but scolded him for not abiding by its order and taking a contradictory stand on the repayment of investors' money.

"You pushed us into a corner. Had you been serious, this position would not have arisen,'' one of the judges told him.

"We respected you; you failed to respect us."