New Delhi, July 30 :
The Supreme Court Wednesday asked the Sahara group and Tihar jail authorities to work out concrete details for conferencing facilities that could be extended to company chairman Subrata Roy and two other directors for negotiating with buyers for the group’s three hotels in New York and London.
A bench of Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice A.K.Sikri asked both Roy and Tihar jail authorities to work out the details for a viable proposition to be considered by the court Friday.
The Tihar authorities Wednesday gave two options to Roy for setting up the conference facilities for negotiating with prospective buyers for the three hotels – Grosvenor House Hotel in London and the New York Plaza and Dream New York hotels in New York.
The apex court July 25 had asked the Delhi government to examine what facilities it could extend to the Sahara chief and two other directors in Tihar jail complex to facilitate negotiations for the sale of the group’s properties located in India and abroad with buyers and lenders without compromising security.
Opting for the option of a conference hall in the Tihar jail court complex, senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for Roy, expressed some difficulty with the lock out time of 6 a.m. and lock in time of 8 p.m. as it did not facilitate negotiations with buyers or lenders in New York.
He also expressed some reservation about jail authorities not allowing secretarial staff to stay beyond 8 p.m.
At this, the court asked Salve to submit a concrete proposal to the jail authorities and find some way out which the court could consider on Friday.
Appearing for Delhi government, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumatr told the court that wifi facilities would be extended by the jail authorities on payment basis and all those who would be coming to the jail in connection with the negotiations would be frisked and their names recorded. The court was told that jail authorities would maintain their confidentiality.
On a query by the court as to why Sahara was focusing on the buyers/lenders for his overseas assets, Salve said: “These arew such huge value assets that they will be getting (required) money in one shot.”
The Sahara group is negotiating with prospective buyers or lenders of its three overseas properties to raise Rs.10,000 crore as part payment of the Rs.24,000 crores that its two companies SIRECL and SHICL had collected though OFCDs in 2008-2009.
Part payment of Rs. 10,000 crores is also a condition for the release of Roy and two other directors Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary who are in judicial custody since March 4 this year over the failure of the companied to comply with the apex court’s Aug 30, 2012 and Dec 5, 2012 orders.
However, market regulator now says that this amount has shot up more than Rs.37,000 crore with Income Tax department making a tax claim of Rs.4,800 crore.