In yet another jolt to Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy, the Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected his plea for release from jail on bail or parole. Roy, who has been in jail since March 4, had pleaded for at least 40 working days' freedom to finalise the deals with parties to sell his three hotels abroad and raise funds to meet the bail condition of Rs 10,000 crore.
Soon after the apex court's order, his counsel Rajiv Dhavan told the court. "I am astonished and deeply pained by the order. I have not seen justice."
The jam-packed court room also witnessed the lawyer's anguish over the court order.
The bench comprising justices T S Thakur, A K Sikri and Anil R Dave, however, said, 'We are not hearing any appeal to modify the bail condition. Had it been the appeal, we could have reduced your astonishment."
"We are not altering the terms which the earlier bench had passed. It appears your astonishment started with earlier bench and still continues," the bench, said referring to the bail order with condition of Rs 10,000 crore passed by the predecessor bench of justices S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar.
Justice Radhakrishnan has retired and Justice Khehar recused himself from hearing the case in May this year.
After allowing Dhavan to make his submission, when Justice Thakur said, "can we take your leave," the senior lawyer said "your lordships cannot make fun of my submission. I am officer of this court and your lordships gave me the benefit of conversation."
In the last hearing, Dhavan had sought interim release of Roy saying, "What is required is raham (mercy) for the chairman of Sahara Group...."
Rejecting his plea, the bench said if there is any concrete proposal to sell his offshore properties, the party has to give the name of the interested buyers, then the court would consider to allow him to hold talks in a guest house between 10am and 4pm in police custody.
"To pass such order, we need to have concrete materials so that we can permit him...We don't see any justification to differ from earlier view. It is premature to make such arrangement," the court said while appointing advocate Shekhar Naphade as amicus curiae to assist the court in dealing with the case.
Sahara has already deposited Rs 3,117 crore with market regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India and has promised to pay the remaining Rs 1,883 crore soon which is part of his bail condition of Rs 10,000 crore.
Sahara wants to sell three of its international properties, including the Plaza hotel in New York and Grosvenor House in London.
Roy and two of its directors are in jail since March 4 after their failure to comply with apex court orders to pay SEBI for refunding investor money which they invested in housing project.?
Referring to the amount deposited by the company so far with SEBI, the senior advocate said Dhavan, "We have gone half way, so far as liabilities are concerned. Their release would certainly help in the progress of the deal."
According to SEBI, the obligation of the Sahara group has run up to Rs 38,000 crore along with interest on the investments made by three crore people.