SC seeks details of Sahara's properties, may grant bail to Roy

The Supreme Court on Wednesday indicated that it would consider releasing Sahara Group's Subrata Roy, if the Securities and Exchange Board of India's (Sebi) plan to sell the group's 67 properties would bring in enough cash, but insisted that the group furnish details of all its properties.

A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur directed the Sahara group to furnish details of all its properties in a sealed cover to ascertain the fact as to whether they are sufficient for paying back the entire amount to the investors.

"We should know about the total assets of the Sahara group. What exactly is the extent of properties, we must know.

The court also observed that the Sahara Group should "substantially" comply with its orders for grant of parole to its chief Subrata Roy.

Sahara Group, meanwhile, informed the Supreme Court that its chief Subrata Roy's health condition was deteriorating and that he would not be able to survive another summer in jail, according to a CNBC-TV18 report.

"The court should consider granting parole to him or put his client under house arrest. I am in substantial compliance of the orders of this court. Sebi has the property and the machinery. I am required for compliance of order of this court and I am not required for any offence. At this stage please consider all the factors and grant me parole. My client's health has been deteriorating and he may not be able to survive another summer in jail," Senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for the Sahara chief told the court.

To this, the bench said, "we don't see substantial compliance unless the money is refunded to the investors. It does not give us pleasure to keep somebody in jail. See, there has to be change in circumstances and there has to be a substantial compliance of our order."

The apex court's observation brings some hope for Roy, who has been languishing in Tihar since March 2014.

SC had set the bail amount at Rs10,000 crore, of which 50 per cent was to be paid in cash and balance in bank guarantees. Sahara had furnished the cash amount, but has so far failed to provide the bank guarantee for Rs5,000 crore.

Sebi, meanwhile has put up 66 properties of the group for sale, which will generate around Rs6,000 crore.

Senior advocate Arvind P Datar, appearing for Sebi, informed the court that the market regulator, in consultation with Justice B N Agrawal, has engaged the services of SBI Capital Markets and HDFC Realty to sell properties of the Sahara Group.

He said the selling process of 66 properties will be completed in four months and that the first phase of the sale process would commence next week.

"This might be enough for securing Roy's bail but not to refund the entire money to investors. We want the rest of the properties to be brought into focus so you give us a list of properties," the bench, also comprising Justices A R Dave and A K Sikri, said.

Dhawan sought two week's time to seek instructions and produce the list of properties in a sealed cover to the court.

Hearing in the matter will resume on 11 May.