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The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted conditional bail to Sahara chief Subrata Roy and two directors of the company, who will have to deposit Rs 10,000 crore with the court, to walk out of Tihar jail.
A bench of Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice JS Kehar dealt another blow to Sahara by rejecting its fresh proposal to deposit over Rs 20,000 crore with market regulator SEBI in installments by March 2015. It said the same wasn't in compliance of its earlier orders and had any "ifs and buts" in it. Sahara had offered to pay Rs 2,500 crore within three days of Roy's release.
The court went on to say: "… we are inclined to grant interim bail to the contemnors who are detained by virtue of our order March 3, 2014, on the condition that they would pay the amount of Rs 10,000 crore -- out of which Rs 5,000 crore to be deposited before this Court and for the balance a bank guarantee of a nationalised bank be furnished in favour of SEBI and be deposited before this Court."
It brushed aside request made by Roy's counsel to bring down the amount to Rs 2,500 crore.
The three would be released forthwith the amount is deposited and released to SEBI. Their release, the court cleared, was to facilitate "the contemnors to further raise the balance amount," enabling them to comply with its orders.
On the company's request to de-freeze the company accounts the court asked for a list of the same. "Tell us the account numbers and specify how much money is there. Also, you must tell us whether you intend to withdraw or not."
Lawyers appearing for Roy, the directors and Sahara were stunned as the court gave its order immediately upon assembling and without letting anyone argue. "This is an order impossible to comply with," said senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan. "Please bring it (condition) down to Rs 2,500 crore and once he (Roy) is out he would pay the remaining within a month," requested another counsel CA Sundaram.
To that the bench said: "We passed the order even before your asking or seeking a reply from SEBI."