SC extends Subrata Roy's parole till July 11, asks to deposit Rs 200 crore
New Delhi: In a breather to Sahara chief Subrata Roy, the Supreme Court on Wednesday extended his parole till July 11 to enable him to deposit Rs 200 crore with market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur, however, directed Roy and Sahara Group director Ashok Roy Choudhary, who were released on parole on May 6 for four weeks to attend rituals following the death of the Sahara chief's mother, to furnish individual undertaking to prove their "bona fide" and seriousness.
Roy has been in Tihar jail since March 4, 2014 on the orders of the apex court in relation to a long running dispute with market regulator SEBI.
"We are inclined to give one chance to Subrata Roy and Ashok Roy Choudhary to prove their offer to deposit 200 crore by July 11.
"We, accordingly, direct that the May 6 order would continue till July 11 subject to the individual undertaking being furnished by them," the bench, also comprising justices A R Dave and A K Sikri, said.
If they fail to deposit Rs 200 crore to SEBI by July 11, they will have to surrender and go back to Tihar jail, the court said in its order. It also said Roy and Choudhary were free to meet prospective buyers of properties and move within the country in police escort as per May 6 order.
It also held that SEBI would meanwhile continue with the auction of properties of Sahara.
The bench also said Saharas can also go ahead with the sale and alienation of their other properties to raise the amount of Rs 5000 crore as a bank guarantee they have to deposit in addition to Rs 5000 crore to get bail.
The order was passed after the submission of senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Rajeev Dhawan on behalf of Roy which did not receive objection from SEBI's senior counsel Arvind Datar.
However, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, who is appointed as amicus curiae in the matter to assist the court, said there are questions as to why Sahara was averse to sale of Aamby Valley and overseas hotels.
On May 6, the court had directed release of Roy on parole for four weeks to attend rituals following the death of his mother Chhabi Roy and allowed him to visit Haridwar and Ganga Sagar for the rites and ceremonies.
Prior to this, the bench had directed the Sahara group to furnish details of all its properties in a sealed cover to ascertain the fact as to whether they are sufficient for paying back the entire amount to the investors.
SEBI had told the court that it has engaged services of SBI Capital Markets and HDFC Realty to sell 66 properties of the Sahara Group.
The apex court had earlier asked SEBI to initiate the process of selling "unencumbered" properties of Sahara group, whose title deeds are with the market regulator, to generate the bail money for release of its chief.
SEBI was asked to devise a suitable mechanism for the sale in consultation and under the supervision of Justice Agrawal, former Supreme Court judge, and also seek help of experts or expert agencies, if required in the process.
The regulator was also asked to keep the Sahara group "duly informed about the steps taken by it in which event Sahara shall be free to provide such inputs as may be considered necessary so that the properties fetch a fair price towards sale consideration".
SEBI was also asked not to sell any property owned by the beleaguered group for a price less than 90 per cent of the circle rates for the area in question without the permission of the court, the Supreme Court had ordered on March 29.
For the interim bail of 67-year-old Roy, the court had put conditions like depositing Rs 5,000 crore in cash and a bank guarantee of equal amount and tough terms including payment of the entire Rs 36,000 crore, which includes interest. The money will be paid back to the investors of Sahara.