Sahara group chief Subrata Roy on Friday requested the Supreme Court to show mercy and release him from jail on a 40-day parole to enable him dispose off his properties and deposit Rs. 10,000 crore with Sebi to get a regular bail.
“Reham (mercy) is what is required now in this case. He has spent four months behind bars and his release would enhance chances of negotiation for sale of properties,” Roy’s counsel, senior advocate Rajiv Dhawan, submitted before a bench headed by Justice TS Thakur, which reserved its order on his plea.
Roy also agreed to sell off luxury hotels Dream Downtown and The Plaza in New York and Grosvenor House in London to secure a regular bail.
“The court has given positive indication of permitting Sahara to sell the foreign properties which will now make it possible to further comply with the order of interim bail,” Sahara counsel Sudeep Seth said.
Roy, 65, is in jail since March 4 after failing to comply with the apex court’s order to refund over Rs. 20,000 crore to depositors. The Supreme Court asked him to pay Rs. 10,000 crore to get bail, of which Rs. 5,000 crore has to be paid in cash and the rest as bank guarantee.
The Sahara Group has claimed that it has already paid back money to 93% of the investors. It has so far raised Rs. 3,117 crore, which has been deposited with the market regulator Securities and Exchanges Board of India (Sebi).
The court proposed to appoint an amicus curiae to assist in the case, in which the group is supposed to pay around Rs. 37,000 crore to wind up the proceedings. While the court suggested senior advocate Shekhar Nafade’s name, Sahara wanted former law minister and senior counsel Salman Khurshid, who recently secured bail for Tehelka co-founder Tarun Tejpal in a sexual assault case.
The bench also asked the the income tax department to file an affidavit in two weeks, detailing actions taken and contemplated against the group, after the department claimed that the company owed Rs. 7,000 crore in tax. The department has to furnish details of any pending case against the group in this regard.
“You must exercise the power given to you. You must come out of inaction,” the bench told the I-T department, which had issued notices to 800 depositors, of which only 137 responded.
“There are no depositors. That is why you are not finding any. The money perhaps has come from unknown sources. It is unaccounted for and has been parked with the company,” the bench said.