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SC reserves order on Subrata Roy’s plea against judicial custody, new offer


New Delhi, April 21 :

The Supreme Court Monday reserved its order on Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy’s plea challenging its March 4 decision to send him to judicial custody for his failure to comply with its 2012 order to return investors’ Rs.24,000 crore which his two companies – SIRECL and SHICL – had collected.

Subrata Roy, Sahara Group chief
Subrata Roy, Sahara Group chief

A bench of Justice K.S.Radhakrishnan and Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar also reserved its order on Roy and two other group directors offer to pay Rs.10,000 crore as a part payment of investors money to market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to secure their release from judicial custody.

Roy’s fresh offer to make the part payment of investors’ money came on the concluding day of the arguments on his plea challenging the court’s March 4 order sending him and two other directors of group’s SIRECL and SHICL Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey to judicial custody.

Senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan appearing for Roy told the court that Rs.3,000 crore would be deposited within three working days of his release from jail and another Rs.2,000 crore by May 30.

The bank guarantee of the balance amount of Rs.5,000 crore will be submitted by June 30, he added.

While making a fresh offer, Roy also sought lifting of the freeze on some of the bank accounts of SIRECL and SHICL as well as on some properties. He also sought the modification of March 26 order saying that they may be allowed to furnish the bank guarantee of a scheduled commercial bank instead of a nationalised bank as it is easier secure bank guarantees from them.

Roy also said if the court accepted his proposal and orders his release, Rs.3,000 crore would be paid by April 25, that is within three working days upon his release.

Dhawan told the court that any subsequent release of Sahara would consequently further the dates of paying Rs.2,000 crore and bank guarantee of Rs.5,000 crore.

Urging the court to release Roy, Dhawan said: “No business has taken place since October 2013. This is a composite proposal. Otherwise there is no other way to we can pay.”

A bench of Justice Radhakrishnan and Justice Khehar March 26 had asked Roy to deposit Rs.10,000 crore – Rs.5,000 in cash and Rs.5,000 in bank guarantees in favour of SEBI – as part payment of the investors money to secure his release and that of two other directors from judicial custody.

The court had said that this money would be deposited with its registry which in turn would be routed to the market regulator SEBI.

The court by its Aug 31, 2012 and subsequently Dec 5, 2012 order had asked Sahara Group’s two companies to return investors’ Rs.24,000 crores by routing it through SEBI. Sahara deposited Rs. 5,120 crore with the market regulator and balance of Rs.19,000 crore is still outstanding.

Earlier concluding his arguments, senior counsel Arvind Dattar appearing for SEBI sought the dismissal of Roy’s plea both on the grounds of maintainability and the merits as it lacked both. Dattar told the court that Sahara’s contention fell flat when subjected to the test of “consistency, credibility and corroboration”.