Even as it observed that “there is no faith left”, the Supreme Court Wednesday extended the parole of Sahara chief Subrata Roy till October 24 on the condition of the group depositing Rs 200 crore more with the Sebi for refunding investors.
In a relief for Roy, whose fate hanged in balance after the court had got upset last week over his counsel’s submissions and certain instances of non-compliance, a bench led by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur extended the parole by almost a month, and asked him to adduce a road map on making the payments of the balance amount.
Representing Roy and the group, senior advocate Kapil Sibal also made an obvious reference to the case of founder-owner of Kingfisher Airlines Vijay Mallya, who has been evading proceedings arising out of non-repayment of bank loans. “Here is a person who has to pay back some hundreds of crores and he is unable to come back to India. I have already paid back more than 10,000 crore,” he said while asking for a considerate view.
Sibal had said that instead of paying Rs 200-300 crore every month and earn freedom for a short duration, he would want to stay out of jail for a year and a half and pay the remainder in this duration.
“I will give you (court) a road map and milestones on making the payments. Give me one-and-half year to make me pay. I know I have to pay but let me do it in my own way. Allow me a free hand and let me sell my properties whosoever I want to sell it to,” said Sibal.
But the bench, also comprising Justices Anil R Dave and A K Sikri, clarified that Sebi could not be eliminated from the process of sale and it must happen under the supervision of the market regulator.
“You can give us a scheme…but it will not be the first time your client will give a road map or a scheme. Your client was in jail for two years while all assurances and promises were observed in breach. This process of periodical deposit also has to continue since there is not faith left,” it replied.
It also was critical of Sahara’s conduct after Sebi’s counsel Arvind Datar informed that out of the 8 properties of the group that were put up for auction, five were already attached with other authorities. Further, out of the list of 60 properties given to Sebi, 47 properties were provisionally attached by Income Tax department. At this, the bench said that Sahara will have to explain why it included such properties in the list of assets that could be sold by the Sebi to raise money.
Sibal said that he would verify the facts before making any submission. Expressing difficulties in selling properties, Sibal said that the groups was trying to sell its two offshore hotels. At this, the bench asked Sahara to prepare and discuss the roadmap for future payments.