Sahara chief stuck in jail as SC puts off hearing

Subrata Roy, the chief of the Sahara groupSubrata Roy, the chief of the Sahara group, will have to stay in Delhi's Tihar Jail for at least some more time, as the Supreme Court, which was to hear Sahara's Rs20,000 crore investor refund case on Tuesday, has adjourned the matter without assigning a reason or fixing the next hearing date.

The case list on the Supreme Court's website shows that the case, which was listed before a special bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar, "stands deleted and the same is adjourned".

The Sahara group's lawyer expressed surprise over this, as no reason has been given for the adjournment. The Sahara group may mention the issue today before an appropriate bench to get the matter listed at the earliest.

Roy, 65, was arrested on 28 February after he failed to convince judges that he is serious about repaying nearly Rs20,000 crore to investors for two Sahara bond schemes that were declared illegal in 2012. The group was supposed to deposit the money with the Securities & Exchange Board of India, but has so far failed to do so (See:Sahara chief Roy finally surrenders; son claims he wasn't absconding).

At the last hearing on Friday, the Supreme Court had rejected Sahara's proposal to repay the money collected mainly from small investors as "dishonest."(SeeWill sell assets to raise money, Sahara chief Roy assures SC) "Don't make us assemble if you don't have a better offer. This is a dishonest proposal," the judges had said.

Roy's lawyers, arguing for his release, had said he is needed to participate in negotiations to raise the money needed for the refund. But the judges retorted, "You have been in jail for two days ... for one and a half years, you were out."

Sahara had last week proposed that SEBI begin selling its properties until it comes up with the bank guarantee. SEBI has argued that it does not have the needed paperwork for some of those properties and says Sahara has greatly exaggerated their worth.

SEBI had brought contempt proceedings against Roy and Sahara for failure to comply with the 2012 Supreme Court order to repay the money to allegedly duped investors. Sahara claims that it has repaid most investors directly, and that its remaining liability is less than the Rs5,000 crore it has deposited with SEBI (See: SEBI moves SC against Sahara chief Subrata Roy for contempt of court).