Not arrested, Subrata Roy wilfully submitted, says Sahara group chief's son Seemanto

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 28 2014, 22:47pm hrs
Seemanto RoySeemanto Roy addresses a press conference in New Delhi after his father Subrata Roy's arrest. (Express photo by Ravi Kanojia)
As Sahara Group group chief Subrata Roy was arrested this morning amid high drama, son Seemanto said his father "wilfully submitted" before the Lucknow police and was cooperating with the authorities.

At a hurriedly called press conference in the national capital this morning, Seemanto Roy said Sahara chief was very attached to his mother and her condition continues to remain fragile.

He said that Subrata Roy was hoping for a short relief from the Supreme Court, but he decided to wilfully submit before the police this morning after the "agony" he suffered from reports about him being absconding.

Earlier in the morning, there were speculations that Subrata Roy himself could be present at the press conference and these talks gained further ground after a Delhi police team reached the venue.

Minutes before the press conference started, Sahara group lawyers informed the Supreme Court that Subrata Roy has been taken into custody by the Lucknow police. The court also rejected a petition for recall of non-bailable warrant issued for arrest of Roy.

Addressing the conference, Seemanto Roy said he wanted to clear various misconceptions about the whole episode and put forward "certain facts for benefit of everyone, including employees, all stakeholders and public at large".

Seemanto said that Sahara chief had come to Delhi on February 24 to appear before the Supreme Court on February 26.

"He is very attached to his mother and had to go back to Lucknow due to her illness. He had only sought exemption only for a day from personal appearance before the Supreme Court. But he was not granted a short relief," Seemanto said.

"The condition of mother continues to remain fragile and he was hoping for a relief from Supreme Court," he said while trying to explain the delay in his submission before police.

Earlier in the morning before his arrest, Subrata Roy himself issued a signed statement from Lucknow, claiming he was not absconding and was ready to obey any Supreme Court direction "unconditionally". He had, however, appealed the court to allow him to live with his "ailing mother" in house arrest till March 3.

The court has asked the police to present him before it on March 4.

Seemanto, who along with his brother Sushanto holds key positions in the group, also said that arrest of his father would not impact the business empire.

"Since he is the father of over 12 lakh people, I have so many brothers and sisters... It won't impact anything," he said.

While leaving for airport, Seemanto told reporters that his father was "not at all" evading arrest and had gone out to consult doctors and lawyers when the police had gone to his home yesterday to execute non-bailable warrant.

"This has been interpreted by the media and everyone that he has evaded arrest. That is not the fact," he said when asked whether Sahara chief was trying to evade the arrest.

"It is a very delicate relationship between a son and a mother. She is 92 and is really sick. We expect the court to understand that... Sahara Shri is a law abiding citizen. We have faith in law and lets see what happens," he said.

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Seemanto read out a six-page statement that listed out developments related to the case starting from February 20 and also stressed that Subrata Roy being the eldest son was also very attached to mother.

Addressing the media, he also read out a message from his father which said, "My office, my colleagues, my family members are continuously getting calls, SMS etc, from media friends, relatives. They want to hear from me. All I want to say is This Is The Best Honour My Country Could Give Me".

Reiterating that Sahara India Pariwar has always ensured compliance to the law of the land across businesses and processes, the son said in the past also the group has faced many difficulties.

"...each time we have reemerged more strongly and firmly," he added.

Striking an emotional note, he said that Subrata Roy to me is not only a doting father but also a patriotic son of the soil who has contributed immensely to the country in many ways.

"Today it pains me to see his reputation and image being maligned in this manner, and I humbly seek your support and co-operation," Seemanto said.