Sahara group’s plea to release its chief Subrata Roy and two directors without the payment of Rs. 10,000 crore was on Monday turned down by the Supreme Court. The SC hinted at lifting embargo on operating Sahara’s bank accounts to sell assets and generate the amount to secure their release on bail.
A new bench comprising justice TS Thakur and justice AK Sikri also refused the plea to place Roy under house arrest in Lucknow till the amount was paid.
A “precise and specific” proposal with valuation reports of the properties the company intends to sell has to be submitted before the court that will hear the case next week.
The 65-year-old Sahara boss has been in jail since March 4 for failing to refund over Rs. 20,000 crore to its 3 crore investors.
The company and market regulator SEBI have been locked in litigation with Sahara disputing the amount and stating it has already paid its investors.
During the hearing before a new bench the company counsel, AM Singhvi, argued the company will pay Rs. 2,600 crore lying in its banks within a week of court lifting its orders freezing the accounts.
The bench referred to the earlier order by the original bench saying: “What business you (Sahara) have? How did you generate Rs. 20,000 crore overnight...You must have deposited the money in a bank or the money was stacked somewhere... Was it somewhere in locker or in gunny bags,” the bench said.
Sahara offers to sell overseas hotels
Sahara Group on Monday offered to sell its crown jewel overseas hotels in its latest bid to have its chief released from jail.
Sahara's lawyers told the court that the group was willing to sell the three hotels it owns in London and New York to raise funds, but sought Roy's release to facilitate any possible deal.
"Please release my client,"Abhishek Manu Singhvi, a lawyer representing Sahara in the case, told a two-judge panel.
"We have three valuable hotels in London and New York. We wanted to sell these three hotels to repay the investors' money."
Singhvi also said Sahara was ready to sell part of its large Aamby Valley township project in western India.
(with inputs from Reuters)