You are in jail by choice, SC bench tells Sahara chief Subrata Roy

By: | Published: August 4, 2015 1:24 AM

Court is expected to take a decision on auctioning of Sahara properties on September 14

Coming down heavily on Sahara group chief Subrata Roy for delaying the sale of properties to refund R36,000 crore, including interest collected from 3 crore investors, the Supreme Court on Monday asked market regulator Sebi to move an application seeking appointment of a receiver for sale of its properties.

“What troubles us is you (Roy) had said you have properties worth Rs 1,85,000 crore and you have so much of money but when it comes to paying one-fifth of that you are unable to pay. A person blessed with money sacrificing his liberty in jail and not willing to sell properties. You are in jail by choice,” a three-judge bench headed by Justice TS Thakur said as Sahara opposed its proposal to appoint a receiver to sell the group’s properties.

The remarks were made after senior advocate Kapil Sibal said that it was not fair for the court to put Roy inside the jail when the contempt proceedings against him were not over.

While “sitting in jail his client can’t pay and no one will come forward to buy,” he said, adding that other large business houses did not have to suffer like this and their loans of thousands of crores get rescheduled for payment in five or 10 years by the RBI or banks.

The senior advocate said it was difficult for Roy to arrange a big amount for his release by staying inside the jail and the court should consider humanitarian grounds for his release.

However, the bench said “please appreciate we have certain constraints. Read the previous orders passed by this court. You will know why your client is in jail.”  “Even if you are released, the sword will be hanging over your head on your return (from jail). You have to pay the remaining amount. This is a case which can be argued for days, weeks and months,” the bench observed

Senior advocates Arvind Datar for Sebi and Shekhar Naphade, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae, said appointment of receiver was inevitable.

“Why can’t a receiver be appointed. Let the properties be taken over and let it be sold and the money be deposited with the receiver as it is apparent they are incapable of generating money and selling properties,” the bench said adding that a retired judge of the apex court who was appointed to oversee the action taken by Sebi against Sahara Group, can be the chairman of the receiver.

The court also approved the sale of Sahara Group’s 140-acre land in Gorakhpur to Gorakhpur Real Estate Developers surpassing the Rs 150 crore bid offered by Samriddhi developers and settled the deal for Rs 152 crore.

The bench posted the matter for hearing on September 14 when it will give a detailed hearing on the issue of appointing a receiver and other issues arising in the case.

It also agreed to hear the petition under Article 142 of the Constitution to do complete justice between the parties in this case as raised by Sibal. Further, the court will deliberate on the dispute arising on the sale of property at Chauma in Gurgaon and Vaasai in Maharashtra.

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