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House arrest rejected, but Supreme Court allows Subrata Roy to sell properties in India for bail

Thursday, 5 June 2014 - 6:55am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy will continue to remain in prison. The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected his plea to shift him to his Lucknow guest house to be placed under house arrest. The court, however, allowed him to sell his properties in India to meet the bail bond amount of Rs 10,000 crore ((Rs 5,000 crore cash and rest in the form of bank guarantees). The Company expressed its inability to furnish the amount, and had sought the court's permission to sell its properties to comply with the bail condition.

Roy has been behind bars in Delhi's Tihar jail since March 4 for not abiding by the apex court's order to deposit Rs 20,000 crore with market regulator SEBI to be returned to investors of Sahara's dubious financial schemes. Two Sahara directors are also in prison with Roy.

On Wednesday, a bench of justices TS Thakur and AK Sikri modified the order passed by Sebi in February 2013 and upheld by the apex court in November last year, restraining the group from selling any of its properties and freezing its bank accounts. But while it allowed the Sahara Group to sell its properties in India, the bench observed that "no material was placed on record" by the group for its overseas properties and so no order could be passed in that aspect.

"FDs, bonds and securities held by Sahara Group of companies may be encashed by the holders thereof subject to the condition that the maturity value/sale consideration of such FDs, bonds and securities shall be deposited in the designated bank account of SEBI...and sale consideration furnished to this court on affidavit to be filed within four weeks from the date the FDs, bonds and securities are encashed, sold and/or transferred," the bench said.

"Immovable properties owned by Sahara Group of companies situated in nine different cities with an estimated value of Rs 2,500 crore are permitted to be sold by the companies/other entities persons in whose names such properties are held subject to the condition that such sales are not for a price lower than the estimated value...or the circle rates fixed for the area in which such properties are situated," the bench said, asking Sahara to furnish details of the sold properties' valuation, the terms of sales and a declaration that the purchaser is not a related party qua Saharas.

Besides, the bench also permitted Sahara to charge its immovable properties in Aamby Valley (Pune) to furnish a bank guarantee for Rs 5,000 crore and/or for deposit Rs 5,000 crore if there is any shortfall despite encashment and sales permitted.

The bench referred the matter to Chief Justice RM Lodha to constitute a larger bench of three judges which will further hear the case. The court also appointed senior advocate FS Nariman as an amicus curiae to assist the court in the case.

Meanwhile, Roy asked the court to grant him five days parole to see his ailing mother in Lucknow but the bench asked him to file a proper application for the same.

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