Pay Rs10,000 crore upfront or stay in jail, SC tells Subrata Roy

04 June 2014

The Supreme Court on Wednesday once again dismissed an attempt by Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy to get out from behind the bars of Delhi's Tihar Jail unless he deposits Rs5,000 crore in cash and gives a bank guarantee for another Rs5,000 crore to obtain bail.

A bench of Justices T S Thakur and A K Sikri however, unfreezed Sahara group's bank accounts and allowed it to sell nine properties in India to enable it to deposit the Rs5,000 crore cash needed to secure bail for Subrata Roy.

The apex court also rejected Sahara chief's plea to relax the conditions for securing bail for Roy, who has been in Tihar Jail since 4 March after he failed to appear at a contempt hearing in the Rs24,000-crore securities scam.

Roy who lost a long-running legal battle with market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) over refund of over Rs24,000 crore collected ''illegally'' from nearly three million investors, has been ordered to deposit the amount with the court to secure bail.

The Supreme Court had earlier rejected Sahara's proposals to pay the money in installments but allowed it to pay Rs5,000 in cash and Rs5,000 in bank guarantees.

The bench  also junked the group's request to modify the order whereby Sahara was asked to first furnish Rs10,000 crore as security to enable Roy and two other directors come out of the jail.

The bench, however, allowed Sahara to encash bank deposits and security to arrange Rs2,500 crore and also sell other properties in nine cities to raise more money.

The Supreme Court today allowed Sahara to raise Rs4,298 crore by selling nine real estate properties in Amritsar, Ahmedabad, Chauma, Ajmer, Bhopal, Bhavnagar, Jodhpur, Pune and Vasai. The court also directed Sahara to deposit the amount from property sale with Securities and Exchange Board of India.

It also said that Sahara may charge immovable properties in Pune's Ambey Valley to raise Rs5,000 as bank guarantee.

Further, the court unfreezed Sahara's bank accounts worth Rs2,421.67 crore.

However, after Sahara manages to raise money, it will have to approach a new three-judge bench since the court referred the case to a larger bench today.

As far as three properties in a broad were concerned, the court asked the group to adduce all the requisite documents and approach the new bench for further directions.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, appointed eminent jurist Fali S Nariman as amicus curiae to advise it on the case.

Sahara in a statement said, "We are very thankful that today we got clearances of bank accounts and certain select properties."

The Sahara group had earlier offered to sell its crown jewel overseas hotels to meet the bail conditions for its jailed chief. Sahara owns the landmark Plaza hotel in New York and Grosvenor House in London.

The top court sought more information on the three overseas hotels the group had offered to sell.

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