The Sahara group has reached an agreement with a foreign party to sell its three luxurious hotels in London and New York and a reputed foreign bank has also agreed to grant bank guarantee for Rs 5,000 crore, its chief Subrata Roy today told the Supreme Court which granted him 15 more working days to complete the process. Roy, who has been in jail for over five months, said that he cannot reveal the name of the party and the bank, saying that their confidentiality has to be protected till the deal is signed.
Pleading for more time to raise around Rs 7,000 to get bail, advocate S Ganesh, appearing for him, submitted that no one is more anxious than him to get out of jail to revive his business which is on the verge of collapse. "An in principle agreement has been reached with a foreign party for the sale of the three hotel properties and in fact a draft memorandum of agreement has also been drawn up in this regard.
"Further the applicants have also managed to obtain the in-principle approval of a foreign bank for the grant of a bank guarantee for the amount of US$ 850 million equivalent to Rs 5,000 crore through a tie-up with an Indian Scheduled Bank," he told a bench headed by Justice T S Thakur.
The bench, after hearing his plea, agreed to grant him 15 days more time but made it clear that no further time extension will be granted to him to use the conference room in Tihar jail complex for holding consultations with the potential buyers of his properties. "It is necessary to carry out further negotiations for the purpose of working out the numerous details relating to such highly intricate complex and high value transaction," Sahara said in his application seeking more time.
Roy put his hotels Dream Downtown and The Plaza in New York and Grosvenor House in London on block to sell and he submitted that he is getting price more than their market value from a foreign buyer.
The apex court had on August 1 allowed Roy and two directors of his group to use the conference room in Tihar jail complex for 10 days from August 5 to hold negotiations with potential buyers. Roy, 65, who has been in jail for the past five months, had pleaded that he was committed to follow apex court's direction and sought its permission for shifting to Tihar jail guest house for a week to enable him to hold negotiations to sell his properties in India and abroad to raise Rs 10,000 crore to get regular bail.
The apex court had refused to release Roy on interim bail or parole but had allowed selling of his luxury hotels. It had also appointed senior advocate Shekhar Naphade as amicus curiae to assist the court in dealing with the case in which the group is supposed to pay around Rs 37,000 crore to wind up the proceedings in the apex court.
Roy, who was sent to jail on March 4 this year for non- refund of over Rs 20,000 crore to depositors, was asked by the court to pay Rs 10,000 crore to get bail, out of which Rs 5,000 crore in cash and rest of the amount in bank guarantee.
Sahara has raised Rs 3,117 crore which has been deposited with SEBI. The group, however, has been claiming that it has already repaid money to 93 percent investors.