The Supreme Court gave one week to Sahara chief Subrata Roy and two company directors to surrender as it “terminated the interim arrangement” under which they were temporarily out of jail.
High drama preceded the order. A special bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur had on Friday morning cancelled Roy and directors’ parole, ordering they should be immediately taken to Tihar.
Infuriated by the manner in which senior counsel Rajeev Dhawan had argued the matter, the bench refused to extend the parole.
By afternoon, however, the bench agreed to take a relook after senior advocate Kapil Sibal, down with viral fever, rushed to the court in emergency.
The former Union minister offered unconditional apology on behalf of his client. Assisted by senior advocate Narendra Hooda, Sibal told the court that Dhawan had exceeded his brief and made unnecessary comments.
“It won’t happen again. He (Dhawan) will never appear in the case. Please withdraw the morning order,” Sibal submitted.
Justice Thakur explained that the court had no reservations against any advocate but no one can be allowed to browbeat the bench.
“One may be eloquent and a scholar but that doesn’t allow anyone to throw around your weight or raise your voice,” the CJI said. “Our tolerance level is very high but not always,” he said, expressing regret to Sibal for “having drawn him out of the sick bed”.
Though the bench later agreed to hear the fresh application offering unconditional apology, it did not recall the morning order and instead extended the time for Roy and the directors to surrender. The court will hear the application on September 28.
Dhawan, however, defended his aggressive posture in the court. He said the bench had cancelled Roy’s parole out of anger.
“Orders passed in a temper, especially when all conditions are fulfilled are both inappropriate and unbecoming,” he said in a written statement.
Dhawan said he informed the bench that Sahara had paid Rs 362 crore, more than what it was asked to and Roy along with two others should continue to be on parole.
But the bench got irked when Dhawan sought time to respond to SEBI who wanted to confirm the sale of some properties. “On instructions from my instructing counsel I requested for time,” he said.