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Will Subrata Roy get a favourable verdict?

June 03, 2014 19:34 IST

The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce on Wednesday its verdict on a plea of jailed Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy seeking modification of an earlier order asking him to pay Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion) in cash besides a bank guarantee of an equivalent amount for securing his release.

A bench of justices T S Thakur and A K Sikri, on May 29, had reserved its order after hearing arguments from the counsel of Sahara Group and the SEBI on the fresh plea of Roy.

The court, meanwhile, had also allowed the Sahara Group to approach its creditor Bank of China for selling equities in three offshore hotels to raise the money.

Sahara, in its fresh proposal, has said it would like to deposit Rs 3,000 crore cash in five days and another Rs 2,000 crore in cash in the next 30 days thereafter.

The group would be furnishing a bank guarantee for the rest of Rs 5,000 crore in 60 days after selling its equities in hotels, one in London and two in New York, the group said.

The court had said that Sahara would be communicating with Bank of China, which had lent money to it for purchasing substantial equities in offshore hotels and file an affidavit within a week about the outcome of the communication.

The bench also said that it was inclined to allow Sahara to sell nine properties in India and mortgage certain properties in Aamby valley for raising the money.

Earlier, the bench had asked the Sahara chief, who is in Delhi's Tihar jail since March 4, to pay Rs 5,000 crore in cash and furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 5,000 crore as pre-condition for his release.

Senior advocate Rajiv Dhawan, appearing for Roy, had said that the Sahara chief is the main decision maker and it will be quite "improbable" to strike a deal for arranging the money and hence, he can be put under house arrest outside a jail at his expense.

The counsel for SEBI, however, had opposed the plea saying this prayer has been declined several times in the past.

65-year-old Roy, who was sent to jail for non-refund of over Rs 20,000 crore to depositors, was asked by the court to make a fresh proposal for paying Rs 10,000 crore to get bail.

The court had passed the order on a plea filed by Roy challenging constitutional validity of its order passed on March 4 by which he was sent to jail for not complying with its order to deposit around Rs 20,000 crore of investors money with SEBI.

The bench, in a strongly-worded judgement, had come down heavily on the group for "systematically" frustrating and flouting all its orders with impunity on refunding investors' money.

It had said Sahara "adopted a demeanour of defiance constituting a rebellious behaviour, not amenable to the rule of law" and justified its decision to send Roy along with two promoters of two Sahara companies to jail. 

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