No bail for Sahara's Roy as SC says he's playing mind games

Accusing Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy of repeatedly defying court orders and ''playing psychological games'', the Supreme Court today dismissed his petition challenging his detention, and also directed the group to submit a fresh proposal for refunding investors' money.

In the petition, Sahara lawyers said the Supreme Court's 4 March order for detaining Roy for not repaying Rs20,000 crore of investors' money as directed by it, was "illegal and unconstitutional", and sought quashing of the order.

Coming down heavily on Sahara for flouting court's orders, the Supreme Court said adequate opportunity of being heard was given to Roy before he was sent to jail.

In a very strongly worded order, the top court said, "Judicial order cannot be circumvented and our orders are bound to be obeyed. We deprecate such approach. Our orders were repeatedly defied. The demeanour of the petitioner and his counsels displayed disregard for the court. So much judicial time was spent on this case."

The Sahara group had earlier also made a plea that Roy be released to facilitate negotiations with buyers for raising money to comply with the Supreme Court's order.

Roy, 65, was arrested on 28 February and has been held in Tihar Jail since 4 March after failing to appear at a contempt hearing in a long-running legal battle between the group and the Securities & Exchange Board of India, over refund of money to nearly 30 lakh investors.

The Supreme Court had earlier granted bail to Roy on condition that he pay Rs5,000 crore in cash and provide bank guarantees for another Rs5,000 crore. But Sahara had expressed its inability to pay the amount and sought modifications of the bail conditions. Sahara had offered to pay the amount in installments.