Sahara spends Rs31 lakh on Roy's failed 5-star Tihar negotiations

Subrata RoyThe Sahara group paid Rs31lakh on its chairman Subrata Roy's stay in an air-conditioned conference room with services such as telephone, internet and video conferencing facility in Delhi's Tihar Jail for 57 days only to go back on an offer to raise money for his bail through sale of three of the group's hotels located in London and New York.

This means that Roy and his aides paid an average Rs54,400 per day for their stay at the conference room, which makes Tihar Jail among the country's most expensive places to stay.

The Supreme Court had allowed the Sahara chief to use the jail's conference room to negotiate the sale of his hotels to collect Rs10,000 crore required for his bail.

The Sahara group has paid Rs31 lakh to the jail authorities as charges for its chief Subrata Roy  Roy (65), along with two directors, Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey, to stay at the special facility for 57 days from 5 August to 30 September.

"The payment was made by the Sahara group a few days before the withdrawal of special services. An amount of Rs31 lakh has been submitted to us. This includes the expenses towards security, electricity charges, food, etc," said a senior jail official.

The Securities & Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has now alleged before the Supreme Court that the Sahara group and its jailed chief Subrata Roy despite all their shows of sales negotiations were deliberately avoiding a sale of the group's foreign properties to repay ''duped'' Indian investors.

Sebi also cited an e-mail purported to have been received from London last month, in which the sender had claimed to have offered to buy Sahara's offshore properties but Sahara refused to go ahead with the deal.

Sebi also said it has received some other complaints from London against Sahara for not showing an interest in selling the properties.

Sebi, which moved the Supreme Court on Thursday citing the contents of a mail and other communications, said it received a communication on 29 September from one Michael Kurtland, Prime Investment Ltd, Berkeley Square, Mayfair London.

Roy, on the other hand, is seeking restoration of the five-star facilities, as, according to him, about 80 per cent of the sale deal had been fixed and withdrawal of these services might lead to its cancellation.

In a recent letter to Tihar Jail authorities, Roy also cited a threat to his life and sought beefing up of his security and restoration of five-star facilities.

Roy, who was sent to jail on 4 March 2014 for failure to repay an amount of Rs20,000 crore along with interest, to subscribers of OFCDs (optionally fully convertible debenture) of two Sahara group real estate companies, which were issued without market regulator Sebi's consent.

The Supreme Court had asked Roy to pay Rs10,000 crore to get bail, including Rs5,000 crore in cash and rest in bank guarantees.