It was drama to the hilt outside Supreme Court on Tuesday when Sahara chief Subrata Roy came in his trademark white shirt and black half-waist coat, but saw black ink thrown on his face by a man. Amid unprecedented chaos and commotion, 65-year-old Roy came to appear before the court in a white Bolero police vehicle and told the waiting media, “I promise that I will meet you all after coming out”.
Soon, a man calling himself “Manoj Sharma, lawyer from Gwalior”, threw ink on Roy’s face, removed his own shirt and started shouting that “he (Roy) is a thief and has stolen money from poor”.
Immediately, Roy was escorted inside the court premises and Sharma was roughed up by lawyers and others present before being taken away by the police to Tilak Mark station.
Roy, who was taken in police custody from his home in Lucknow on Friday, was brought as per orders of the apex court, which had issued a non-bailable warrant against him and had asked him to be presented at 2 pm on Tuesday.
The chief of Sahara group, which claims to have a net worth of over Rs 68,000 crore and an asset base of over Rs 1.5 lakh crore, has faced the ire of Supreme Court after he failed to appear before it on February 26 as per orders.
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It took about 15-20 minutes for Supreme Court entry passes to be made for clean-shaven Roy, who was seen wearing a black tie with Sahara logo and sporting double-shade glasses. It was a first-of-its-kind incident for Roy, who has been in controversy for quite some time due to this long-running dispute between Sahara group and Sebi, which has found “various illegalities” in raising funds to the tune of over Rs 24,000 crore by two Sahara firms.
In an order dated August 31, 2012, the Supreme Court had ordered refund of this money to about three crore investors through Sebi. Later in December 2012, the group was asked to make the refund in three installments.
The group deposited the first intallment of Rs 5,120 crore with Sebi, but said the remaining amount was already returned to investors directly — a claim contested by market regulator Sebi.
Earlier in April 2013, Roy was also summoned to appear personally before Sebi. After that appearance the flamboyant chief of the diversified group famously said he had spent close to one hour at the regulator’s office and was not offered even a cup of tea.
There were earlier reports that Roy was being brought to Delhi in a Mercedes, but he came out of a Balero police vehicle outside Supreme Court, where journalists, lawyers and his own group employees had gathered in large numbers.
On social networking site Twitter also, his name was among the top-trending topics and people were seen chatting about the ink incident and other matters related to Sebi-Sahara case.
Sharma, who threw ink, once hurled a shoe at Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi while he had also got a fake death certificate made in the name of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2005-06 to prove high level of corruption.