Sahara chief Subrata Roy could walk out of jail next week

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 09, 2015 11:36 IST

Beleaguered Sahara group founder Subrata Roy could walk out of jail next week.

The conglomerate informed the Supreme Court on Friday that it was ready with a Rs 5,000-crore bank guarantee as part of a Rs 10,000-crore bail amount fixed by the top court for Roy’s release.

The high-profile business leader has been behind bars for more than a year after his company failed to comply with a court order to refund thousands of crores to investors in a bond programme that was ruled illegal.

Counsel for Sahara, Kapil Sibal, said the guarantee would be handed over to markets regulator Sebi by May 13.

The Lucknow-based financial services group, which also has interests in media, real estate, hospitality and entertainment, says it has already paid Rs 3,200 crore of the Rs 5,000 crore cash and is making efforts to pay the remaining amount by selling its properties.

The Supreme Court bench of justices TS Thakur, Anil R Dave and AK Sikri said it would consider on the next date of hearing the total liability that the conglomerate has incurred.

While the regulator says a total principal amount of Rs 24,000 crore is to be paid, Sahara has argued that it has already refunded 95% of the money owed to investors.

“We will accept the bank guarantees but we would also like to address the issue of balance amount to be paid,” the court told Sibal.
Now in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, Roy for years hobnobbed with politicians and movie stars, sponsored India’s cricket team, co-owned a Formula One franchise and ran an airline.

The bench approved the bank guarantee format after Sibal said a scheduled bank has agreed to furnish it in favour of Sebi. He, however, did not disclose the bank’s name.

The court will next hear the case on May 14.

Sahara said this year it was close to finalising a deal with US-based Mirach Capital Group to raise money by taking a loan against its overseas hotels, but talks collapsed.

Sibal told the top court “several prospective” entities were prepared to lend money to his client against the group’s three luxury hotels — Dream Downtown and The Plaza in New York and Grosvenor House in London — and a deal would be clinched soon.

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