Sahara chief Roy finally surrenders; son claims he wasn't absconding

Subrata Roy, the 'fugitive' chief of the Sahara Group, finally surrendered to the Uttar Pradesh Police in Lucknow this morning, two days after the Supreme Court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant on him.

Roy's advocate Ram Jethmalani, while telling the SC that his client had ''surrendered'', sought the formation of a special bench to urgently hear his plea for recalling the arrest warrant, but the bench firmly turned down the request.

The Sahara promoter may remain in police custody till 4 March, when an exasperated bench of the SC has demanded his appearance.

On Thursday, a team of the UP police had landed at his residence to arrest him under court orders, but found him missing. With his passport invalidated, Roy probably decided that he could run, but could not hide from the ''long arm of justice'', as the Supreme Court termed it while hearing the case on Wednesday.

Subrata's son Seemanto Roy promptly called a press conference after his father's arrest, in which he said father "wilfully submitted" before the Lucknow police and was cooperating with the authorities.

The junior Roy said his father was very concerned about the health of his 95-year-old mother, and was hoping for a short relief from the Supreme Court. But he decided to submit to the police authorities this morning after the "agony" he suffered from reports about deliberately absconding.

Some may scoff at this defence, as Roy was not at his residence on Thursday when the cops arrived to arrest him under court orders.

Addressing the conference, Seemanto Roy said the Sahara chief had come to Delhi on 24 February to appear before the Supreme Court on 26 February. "He is very attached to his mother and had to go back to Lucknow due to her illness. He had only sought exemption only for a day from personal appearance before the Supreme Court, But he was not granted a short relief," Seemanta said.

Earlier in the morning before his arrest, Subrata Roy himself issued a signed statement from Lucknow claiming he was not absconding and was ready to obey any Supreme Court direction "unconditionally".

The court had issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against him on Wednesday when he failed to appear in court in connection with Sahara's failure to refund Rs20,000 crore to investors. (See: SC orders Sahara chief Roy's arrest for avoiding court appearance).