With Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy failing to appear before the Supreme Court, the apex court on Wednesday issued a non-bailable warrant against him. The case relates to the SC’s two-year-old order directing the group to refund around R24,000 crore to its investors, after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) restrained two of the group’s companies from raising money through optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCDs). The non-bailable warrants are returnable for March 4, a bench comprising justices K Radhakrishnan and JS Khehar said.
“We had already declined on Tuesday Roy’s plea seeking exemption from a personal appearance,” the bench said..
In response to Jethmalani's submission, the bench shot back: “The arms of this court are very long. We can get him. This is the Supreme Court of the land. Do we have to be at his mercy? If other directors can appear, why can't you (Roy)”?
Jethmalani sought to explain Roy's non-appearance saying he was sitting by his ailing mother's bedside and furnished a medical certificate of Roy's mother's condition issued by Sahara Hospital, Lucknow.
He said, on all earlier occasions, the Sahara chief had complied with the apex court order. Declining the request, the bench said: “On Tuesday, you made a similar request. We declined. For the last two years, we granted exemption from personal appearance.”
The court had on February 20 come down heavily on the Sahara Group for not refunding Rs 20,000 crore of investors' money despite its order and summoned Roy, Ravi Shankar Dubey, Ashok Roy Choudhary and Vandana Bhargava, directors of its firms – Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIREC) and Sahara India Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHIC) to be personally present before it on Wednesday.
While rejecting Roy's plea for personal exemption on Tuesday, the Supreme Court had said: “It involves not only the integrity of the Supreme Court but judges and lawyers involved in the matter. It is said that the order of the Supreme Court is not being complied with. We may retire but we will ensure that our orders are complied with.”
Earlier in January, the apex court had barred Roy and other directors from leaving the country until the two group firms furnished all relevant documents pertaining to the source of money they claimed to have repaid investors. It had also suggested Sebi to take steps towards selling properties, given as security to recover dues, irrespective of the value and to initiate