In a major setback for the Sahara group, the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed its petition on release of its Chief Subrata Roy and two other directors, who had been jailed for more than two months in connection with a contempt case on non- refund of investors’ money.
A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar held that Sahara’s habeas corpus petition was not maintainable in law and that the group deserved no relief in view of its persistent defiant and non cooperative attitude.
The court also threw out Sahara’s theory on having already redeemed the investors, pointing out not only a previous order had junked this proposition, but also since Sahara failed to adduce any authenticated documents to corroborate this.
The bench “deprecated” the group’s “mindgames” to nudge the judges recuse from hearing this petition and slammed it for disobedience of court orders.
A court of law, the bench said, had the powers under the Code of Civil Procedure, to enforce it’s judicial order by directing detention of a person and hence there was nothing illegal in ordering detention of Roy and directors.
Expressing concerns over spending more than 100 hours spanning over 80 days, the court also suggested slew of steps to the legislature to help save the precious judicial time.
When mentioned by Sahara’s counsel, the bench said they could move a new proposal for the court’s consideration.
Roy and two directors are in Delhi’s Tihar jail in judicial custody since March 4 for not abiding by the apex court’s order for depositing Rs 20,000 crore of investors money with SEBI.
The apex court had earlier imposed a condition that Roy will be freed on bail only if he pays Rs 10,000 crore out of which Rs 5,000 crore has to be in bank guarantee and rest Rs 5,000 crore in cash.
Sahara group had submitted that Roy be released forthwith to facilitate negotiations with people for the purpose of raising money to comply with the apex court’s order. It also pleaded that its bank accounts be defreezed which was frozen by the court on November 21 last year.
In his petition, 65-year-old Roy had said that the apex court’s order for detaining him for not paying over Rs 20,000 of investors’ money with SEBI was illegal and unconstitutional and sought quashing of the order.
Sources said Ashish Khetan will be the vice-chairman of the commission.