SC rejects exemption plea, Sahara group's Subrata Roy to appear tomorrow

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 26 2014, 00:04am hrs
Subrata RoySupreme Court refused the plea of Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy seeking exemption from personal appearance. Reuters
Sahara Chief Subrata Roy will have to appear tomorrow in the Supreme Court in connection with the failure of his companies to refund Rs 20,000 crore to investors as his last ditch effort to get exemption from personal appearance in the apex court was today rejected.

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar made it clear that "rule of law" has to be maintained and Roy has to comply with its February 20 order in which he along with three directors of his companies have been summoned to appear.

The bench did not agree with Sahara Chief's counsel Ram Jethmalani's submission that he be granted exemption from personal appearance and he will make payment as per the directions.

When Jethmalani mentioned the matter, the bench said the rule of law should prevail and court's order should be implemented in letter and spirit.

The bench had on February 20 come down heavily on the Sahara group for not refunding Rs 20,000 crore of investors money despite its order and summoned Roy, Ravi Shankar Dubey, Ashok Roy Choudhary and Vandana Bhargava, directors of its firms--Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIREC) and Sahara India Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHIC) to be personally present before it tomorrow.

During the hearing, the bench had observed that SEBI could go ahead with the sale of properties of the group whose sale deeds were handed over to the market regulator to recover Rs 20,000 crore.

"Those properties you can sell. We allow you to sell them and recover the money. If they are encumbered properties then you can file criminal case against the company. The case must be brought to a logical conclusion," the bench had said.

The bench had raised question on the way the group has been defying its order for the last one-and-a-half years.

The bench had said SEBI can put those properties on auction and get the money after the market regulator had said that let the company itself sell the properties and deposit the money.

The apex court in its judgement of August 31, 2012 had directed SEBI to attach properties and recover the money. Sending a clear message that the court is not "helpless" in taking action for flouting its directions, the apex court had on November 21 last year barred Roy from leaving the country and also restrained the group from selling any of its properties.