The Supreme Court on Monday extended till July 4 the time for embattled Sahara chief Subrata Roy to deposit Rs 709.82 crore, out of Rs 1,500 crore which was to be paid by June 15, with a warning that failure to pay the remainder may again land him in jail.
Extending its interim order granting bail to Roy till July 5, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Ranjan Gogoi said, “If the balance amount is not paid by that date, we will be compelled to send the contemnor (Roy) to the custody and we are sure he shall not give rise to such an occasion.”
At the outset, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Roy, said that out of Rs 1,500 crore, which was to be paid by June 15, the Sahara chief has deposited Rs 790.18 crore and ten more working days be granted to him to comply with the undertaking given by him on April 27.
Roy, who was present in courtroom on Monday, had told the court that he will pay Rs 1,500 crore on or before June 15 and Rs 552.22 crore exactly a month thereafter.
“As the contemnor has deposited Rs 790.18 crore, we are inclined to extend the time by ten working days so that the undertaking can be complied with. The balance amount ie Rs 709.82 crores shall be deposited with the SEBI Sahara Refund Account by 4th July, 2017,” the bench noted its order.
Meanwhile, the court allowed Sahara Chief to sell Grosvenor House Hotel by transferring shares of the company to the buyer firm, GH Equity UK Limited.
The bench, however, rejected the plea of Roy that he be allowed to sell land, admeasuring 87.03 acres, in certain villages of Haridwar in Uttarakhand in Rs 109.75 crore as the amount was 62 per cent of circle rate prevalent in the area.
“The said amount is 62 per cent of the circle rate and, thereby, less than 38 per cent of the circle rate. Permission is sought to sell the property at that rate. As advised at present, we are not inclined to grant the said permission,” the bench said.
“We think that the said property shall be put to public auction by SEBI with the assistance of approved agency. In the bid, SEBI can mention 90 per cent of the circle rate, as some time this court had permitted at that rate,” it said.
The auction be conducted by the competent authority of SEBI through approved agency on or before July 5, it said, adding that “e-auction can be done”.
Vinod Sharma, the official liquidator, submitted that the terms and conditions have been scrutinized by Justice B N Agarwal, a former apex court judge who has been nominated to supervise the refund process.
“A copy of the terms and conditions be handed over to the counsel for the contemnor (Roy)...The prayer for approval of the terms and conditions of sale notice shall be considered on the next date of hearing,” it said.
Earlier, Roy had appeared before the court which extended his parole till June 19 with a warning that failure to pay Rs 1,500 crore, as promised, may land him in jail again.
The apex court had taken note of an affidavit and a personal undertaking of Roy that he will pay Rs 1,500 crore on or before June 15 and Rs 552.22 crore exactly a month thereafter on July 15.
The bench had noted in its order on April 27 that Rs 11,169 crore towards principal was due on the Sahara Chief and around Rs 12,000 crore has already been paid.
Earlier, the court was irked over non-submission of money and had decided to sell off Rs 34,000 crore worth of properties of the Sahara Group at the Aamby Valley.
The apex court had on April 6 warned the Group that if it failed to deposit Rs 5,092.6 crore in SEBI-Sahara refund account by April 17 in pursuance of its order, it will be “compelled” to auction its property at the Aamby Valley.
The court had on November 28 last year asked Roy to deposit Rs 600 crore more by February 6 in the refund account to remain out of jail and warned that failure to do so would result in his return to prison.
It had on May 6, 2016 granted a four-week parole to Roy to attend the funeral of his mother. His parole has been extended by the court ever since. Roy was sent to Tihar jail on March 4, 2014.
Besides Roy, two other directors—Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary—were arrested for failure of the group’s two companies—Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHICL) -- to comply with the court’s August 31, 2012 order to return Rs 24,000 crore to their investors. Director Vandana Bhargava was not taken into custody.