THE Supreme Court today ordered custody in jail for Sahara group chief Subrata Roy until March 11 after slamming the group’s “dilatory tactics” and trashing its claim of having already refunded the investors. Roy, after issuance of a non-bailable arrest warrant by the court, had been kept in a guest house in Lucknow by the Uttar Pradesh police for the last three days.
The ardent appeal by Subrata Roy, who had already tendered his “unconditional apology” to the court, for suggesting an alternative so as to stave off judicial custody, failed to move a Bench of Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice J S Khehar.
“We tried to accommodate you but you said go to hell. We tried again and again so that our orders are complied with but you pushed us in a corner. What do you want us to do? Hold our hands and ask you to pay? If we allow this anymore, every litigant will start behaving in this manner,” said the bench.
Subrata Roy, who was earlier attacked with ink by a man when he was being brought in for production in the court by the Lucknow police, will be kept in Delhi’s Tihar Jail until the group comes up with an “acceptable” proposal to comply with the order on depositing Rs 17,000 crore with SEBI for disbursement to investors.
Besides Subrata Roy, two other directors are also ordered to be kept in custody. A woman director was spared because of her gender and also to enable her to coordinate with others to draft the proposal.
The court has, however, allowed the group to request for an early hearing “if a concrete and acceptable proposal can be offered in the meantime.” The group is likely to mention the matter as soon as possible with an alternate proposal.
“Sufficient opportunities have been given to the contemnors to fully comply with those orders and purge the contempt committed by them but rather than availing of the same, they have adopted various dilatory tactics to delay the implementation of the orders,” said the bench, while noting that breach of court orders shakes the foundation of judicial system and undermines the rule of law.
Referring to various documents adduced by Sahara in the last three years, the court noted that the group made “unacceptable statements and affidavits all through” and also in the contempt proceedings initiated at SEBI’s