The Supreme Court on Monday extended Sahara group chief Subrata Roy’s parole till August 3, but with a strict condition that he will have to deposit Rs 300 crore with the market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
Roy had promised in May to pay Rs 500 crore when he was granted bail to attend his mother’s last rites.
“You have to deposit the balance of Rs 300 crore. Either you pay or go back to jail,” a special bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur told Roy’s counsel, senior advocate Kapil Sibal.
The 67-year-old businessman has been in jail since March 2014 after he was accused of failing to meet his liabilities to investors, which stand at Rs 36,000 crore.
In the May order, the top court gave the Sahara boss breather for two months to enable him deposit to Rs 200 crore to SEBI.
Sibal sought more time to deposit Rs 300 crore, but the court rejected his plea on Monday. “We have already given you a long rope,” it said.
The company got much-needed relief from the court, which modified its earlier order and lifted the embargo on the sale of its properties. It had initially permitted Sahara to sell only 19 properties, which included mortgaging the 600-acre Aamby Valley in Mumbai and three overseas hotels — Grosvenor House Hotel in London, New York Plaza, and Dream New York.
But now Sahara can alienate other properties, including those in SEBI’s custody for sale, to raise Rs 5,000 crore as bank guarantee, which the company has to deposit in addition to Rs 5,000 crore to facilitate Roy’s formal release on bail.
The court allowed the group to sell the properties at 90% of the circle rate.
Roy was sent to jail after he failed to appear in the Supreme Court in response to contempt notices.
SEBI had moved the top court for proceeding with contempt action against the Sahara chief because he had failed to refund the money collected through two investment schemes floated by the company.
The top court had declared the schemes flouted SEBI norms and ordered refund.