The Sahara Group on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the company is willing to sell three of its hotels in London and New York to deposit an amount of Rs 10,000 crore, as demanded by the court, to ensure its chief Subrata Roy's release from jail.
Sahara's lawyer, senior advocate Rajiv Dhavan, told a bench of justices TS Thakur and AK Sikri that the company will deposit Rs 3,000 crore cash in five days and another Rs 2,000 crore in cash in the next 30 days thereafter. The group will furnish a bank guarantee for the rest of Rs 5,000 crore in 60 days after selling its equity in London's Grosvenor House hotel and two other properties in New York, he said. He also said that the Bank of China, which had given a loan to the company, has been approached to sell its equities in the three hotels to raise money.
Sahara also offered to mortgage its Amby Valley properties in Pune, Ahmedabad and Bahraich and also offered to sell the overseas properties.
The court, however, found no document to substantiate the company's claim and asked Sahara to furnish within a week the documents pertaining to the company's outstanding liabilities towards the bank, the valuation report of these properties and also the bank's confirmation letter for the transfer of the shares. The court also declined Roy's plea to convert his imprisonment into house arrest until Roy meets the court's conditions.
"We are inclined to allow you to sell the nine properties (listed by the company). We are also inclined to allow you to mortgage the Amby valley to raise the money," the bench said at the fag end of the over three-hour hearing. "We would like to know the valuation report prepared at the instance of Bank of China... An assurance that the value at which shares will be transferred in a week," the court said.
For the past 90 days, Roy and two of his directors have been in Tihar jail for repeatedly defying the court's order in a case in which two of hid group companies failed to pay Rs 20,000 crore by way of dues to market regulator Sebi. These companies had collected money from investors in a housing scheme.
On March 26, the court had granted bail to Roy but asked him to deposit Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 5,000 crore in cash, and the rest in the form of bank guarantees) for his release from jail. The company had made submissions to relax the condition but so far no relief has been granted to Roy. Now, the company has sought 60 days to raise funds by selling its properties.