In a virtual crackdown, the Supreme Court today sent Sahara group chief Subrata Roy and two of his group directors to Tihar jail for a week for not complying with its order on refunding around Rs 20,000 crore of investors money, charging them with adopting "dilatory tactics".
On a day of high drama in the apex court premises, where a Gwalior resident threw ink on Subrata Roy and blackened his face calling him a "chor", a two-judge bench minced no words to tell him, "You pushed us to the corner. Had you been serious, this position would not have arisen."
In a hard-hitting order, the bench consisting of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar questioned the claims made by the group of having refunded the money.
The claims of the group have cast doubts over the existence of so-called investors, the court observed adding fact-finding authorities like SEBI have found they do not exist.
Making it clear that the order on custody of Subrata Roy and two other directors Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary was not in the contempt case, the court spared another director Vandana Bhargav because of her being a woman. It fixed March 11 as the next date of hearing.
With his face washed clean of the black ink, Subrata Roy, who was brought in police custody from Lucknow, appeared before the bench in a jam-packed room and tendered an unqualified apology with folded hands.
He begged for more time to comply with its order for depositing the money with market regulator SEBI by selling properties and by providing bank guarantee.
Wearing his trade mark waist coat and a tie with Sahara logo, 65-year-old Subrata Roy made all out efforts to convince the bench that he will abide by all its orders and sought more time to deposit the amount.
But the court was in no mood to show any mercy after the group failed to give any concrete proposal on depositing the money to SEBI. At one stage, the court was livid with Subrata Roy when he told the bench "I am giving an assurance I will pay the money to you."
Justice Khehar shot back, "We don't need anything from you." Subrata Roy immediately apologised saying it was a slip of the tongue.
Subrata Roy said he had complete in the judicial system and submitted that there was no blot on him in the last 37 years and that he