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Sahara India chief Subrata Roy surrendered before police at Sahara Shaher Township in Lucknow's Gomti Nagar on Friday, a day after the authorities failed to trace him to execute a Supreme Court warrant for his arrest. He was presented before a chief judicial magistrate who sent him to police custody till March 4.
The Lucknow police were unable to locate Subrata Roy in a search operation at the same location on Thursday.
After keeping the police and the court waiting for several hours on Friday, Subrata Roy, who gave himself up at around 10.15am, was escorted in a fleet of cars under tight-security arrangements and was produced before the chief judicial magistrate. He was accompanied by his two sons, Seemanto and Sushanto Roy, and deputy managing worker OP Srivastava to the court.
Subrata Roy will now be produced before the Supreme Court on March 4, the day his police custody ends. The CJM directed Gomti Nagar police inspector Ajit Singh Chauhan to ensure the Sahara chief is present in the apex court by 2pm on the designated day.
The chief judicial magistrate, however, left it to the discretion of police to decide whether to keep Subrata Roy in his bungalow or somewhere else.
The court order was preceded by high drama when special prosecution officer Lallan Yadav suffered a heart stroke while he was discussing the case with the CJM.
Subrata Roy's surrender came soon after he released a statement to the media, saying he was not absconding. "I am not that human being who will abscond. In fact, being a law-abiding citizen, I shall hate myself to do any such thing ever in my life," he said.
Subrata Roy had on Thursday informed the court that his non-appearance was neither intentional nor deliberate.
The apex court on February 26 had issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Subrata Roy for failing to appear before it in person as directed by the court. In its order Friday, it declined to revoke the warrant.
He had said he was absent since he wanted to be with his ailing mother, who is 92.
"Last evening, I had gone out of Sahara Shaher, Lucknow, to consult with a panel of doctors with certain medical reports of my mother and then I had gone to a lawyers' house also," he said in the statement Friday.
"I was informed by my family members that police had come and they said something to the media and then the whole media in the country started saying I am absconding," he said, adding: "Am I absconding? I have started hating myself."
He said a lot of people advised him to get himself admitted to some hospital and could remain there, as was the "general practice to avoid courts" on for medical reasons. "However, I hate to do such drama."
The Supreme Court had directed the presence of Subrata Roy and the three directors of his group firms following their failure to submit to the market regulator title deeds of some of the unencumbered properties. The directors had since surrendered.
The court order was to secure the balance of Rs 19,000 crore out of Rs 24,000 crore that these firms had collected through optionally fully-convertible debentures. These Sahara companies had deposited Rs 5,120 crore with the regulator in December 2012.
The matter has been listed for further hearing March 4, even as Subrata Roy requested the court to allow him to be with his mother till March 3.
The court was closed on Friday and the chief judicial magistrate came owing to the urgency of the matter.
When the court later asked Subrata Roy if he had something to say, a relaxed Roy laughed and replied: "Waise to main ghar par hi rehna chahoonga (I would like to remain at home)."
He said he respected the Supreme Court and was ready for anything.
Subrata Roy remained ensconced in his sprawling residence inside the 270-acre Sahara Shaher earlier and media persons were kept at bay by a posse of private security personnel, who diligently manned and frisked authorised visitors at all four-entry points of the gated township. His lawyer and son both later said Roy had turned himself in "as a law-abiding citizen he willfully decided to submit himself to the Lucknow police".
(With inputs from Agencies)
Subrata Roy's letter to Supreme Court: