Subrata Roy's Sahara group tells Supreme Court it is 'impossible to deposit Rs 10,000 crore'

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 28 2014, 03:02am hrs
Sahara chief Subrata Roy'On compliance, the contemnors (Roy and others) be released forthwith and the amount deposited be released to Sebi' (AP)
The Sahara group Thursday told the Supreme Court it was virtually impossible to deposit Rs 10000 crore so as to get its chief Subrata Roy freed from jail and also raised the accusation of bias and prejudice against him.

A failure by the group to meet the bail condition would force Roy and two other directors to cool their heels in Delhi's Tihar Jail for at least one more week since the court will now take up the matter Thursday next week.

The task you (court) have given to us is virtually impossible to achieve. Conditions should not be so onerous that they become unconstitutional, as has happened in this case...sending them to jail was a void order passed in flagrant violation of the Constitution. It is an order with reasonable apprehension of bias against Sahara and concerned persons, said Sahara counsel.

They said that the order of judicial custody was terribly wrong and violated civil liberties without giving affected persons even a chance to be heard.

Our custody today stands without being held guilty of any charges; without a notice; without a hearing. Our clients are in custody for 23 days now and are being punished without any charge having been established against them. There is a reasonable apprehension that this bench is prejudiced, the counsel told a bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar.

The counsel urged the judges on the bench to either acknowledge they had committed a mistake and recall their detention order of March 4, or send the matter to some other bench for adjudication.

They complained how the bench had shot down their previous proposal on repayment schedule without looking at the offers objectively. The counsel said they came with the proposals best to their financial capabilities, only to be summarily thrown out by the bench.

Your Lordships order of March 4 have recorded that there existed serious doubts over existence of any genuine investors. According to you, all investors are bogus. Then you rely on 'fact finding authorities' to check our veracity when they are none. The very foundation of the order is not correct. The order discloses a proclivity that we are wrong and we are not paying despite our ability to pay. This order cannot stand, said the counsel.

They urged the judges to release the matter from their bench so that the illegality and unconstitutionality of their order could be examined.

On Wednesday, the bench had asked the group to pay Rs 10,000 crore, out of which Rs 5,000 crore is to be deposited before the court, and for the balance, a bank guarantee of a nationalized bank is to be furnished in favour of Sebi.

On compliance (with this order), the contemnors (Roy and others) be released forthwith and the amount deposited be released to Sebi, said the bench, while making it clear that not only the bail was temporary and but was also being given to facilitate Roy to further raise the balance amount.

It had turned down vehement requests by Sahara counsel to reduce the cash amount to Rs 2500 crore in view of their inability to raise money without first securing Roy's release from jail.