New Delhi, April 16 :
Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy Wednesday told the Supreme Court that its order sending him to judicial custody and the conditions to secure his release on interim bail was “unworkable”.
“The court passed an order that was unworkable” and was without scrupulously following the laid down procedures, Roy’s counsel Rajiv Dhawan told the bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar.
As Dhawan said Roy could not generate money as his bank accounts and properties were frozen, the court asked Dhawan if he was in no position to pay Rs.10,000 crore.
“We have made it clear that you indicate the bank accounts or properties (you intend to sell to raise money) for the lifting of the freeze order,” it said.
“You never made any application for the lifting of freeze order,” observed Justice Radhakrishnan.
“The procedure that has been laid down (for sending a person to custody for contempt) was not scrupulously followed,” Dhawan told the court.
“Rules of this court has not been followed on any count” as neither notice was given, nor was the procedure followed. The court was told Roy was not even charged.
The court was hearing a plea by Roy challenging its March 4 order sending him to judicial custody.
The court had March 4 sent Roy to judicial detention to ensure the compliance of its Aug 31, 2012 and subsequent Dec 5, 2012, order to return investors’ money that two group companies – SIRECL and SHICL – had collected through optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCD).
Sahara’s two companies were asked to return Rs.24,000 crore that it had collected through OFCDs from the investors.
Sahara has already given SEBI Rs.5,120 crore in December 2012, in pursuance to the court’s Aug 31, 2012, order.
Earlier, counsel Ram Jethmalani told the court: “No person can be denied his liberty or his liberty can be taken away for non-payments of debts. This is a principle that has been exalted to the level of article 21 (of the constitution).”
“You can’t jail a person for not complying with a decreed order. The decreed order is not against me (Roy). It is against two companies (SIRECL and SHICL),” Jethmalani said.
Navigating through the March 4 order sending Roy to judicial custody, Jethmalani said: “It is a case where the court should not only set aside their own order but a case of recusal (by the judges).”
Besides Roy, the March 4 order also sent two other directors – Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey – to judicial custody.
Sending the three to custody, the court had said that despite being given sufficient opportunities, there was no proposal to “honour” its judgments to return investors’ money.
The apex court by its March 26, 2014, order had asked Roy to deposit Rs.10,000 crore with the court registry for his release on interim bail from judicial custody.
The court had said that of the Rs.10,000 crore, Rs.5,000 crore would be deposited with the court, and for the balance of Rs.5,000 crore, Sahara will furnish a bank guarantee of a nationalised bank favouring the market regulator.
The amount of Rs.5,000 crore to be deposited with the court would be released to SEBI after Sahara complies with the conditions of interim bail.
The hearing would continue Thursday.