After hours of high drama, Sahara Group boss Subrata Roy was arrested on Friday and produced before the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) who directed police to ensure his personal appearance in the Supreme Court by 2pm on March 4.
Rejecting Roy’s plea for house arrest, CJM Anand Kumar Yadav left it to the discretion of police with the instruction that he be produced before the deadline set by the apex court which issued a non-bailable warrant against him for his non-appearance on Thursday in a case of non-refund of over Rs 20,000 crore to investors.
Soon after the court order, the police team took the 65-year chief of the Sahara group in a convoy of high-end cars to a forest guest house at Kukrail where he was kept under police watch.
The cat and mouse game started on Thursday when a police team landed at Roy’s residence to execute the NBW issued by the Supreme Court. But Roy was not available through the day.
Though the Sahara Group claimed that Roy had surrendered, senior superintendent of police (SSP), Lucknow, Praveen Kumar said a situation of surrender did not arise in compliance of the NBA against him.
An hour after his arrest, Roy’s lawyers made two unsuccessful attempts in a span of three hours in the Supreme Court, requesting it to urgently hear his emotional and apologetic plea for recall of the non-bailable arrest warrant.
In his application, Roy had narrated his mental and emotional turmoil due to his 92-year-old mother’s fragile health that triggered an error of judgment leading to his non-appearance before the SC on February 26. Moreover, he had tendered an unconditional apology.
Armed with the application, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani requested a bench headed by Justice K S Radhakrishnan to constitute the special bench comprising Justices Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar, which had on February 26 issued arrest warrants against Roy for disobedience of court’s February 20 order, and hear the Sahara chief’s application.
Justice Radhakrishnan declined urgent hearing and said it was not possible to arrange for the sitting of the concerned bench because of pre-scheduled judicial work. But, this did not deter the Sahara group to make fresh attempts for getting Roy’s application listed for hearing.
In the afternoon, senior advocate Ravi Shankar Prasad requested Justice Radhakrishnan for a five minute hearing even after the normal working hours of the court. But to no avail.
The day’s drama unfolded when a team of Lucknow police entered Sahara Shaher at around 10.45am to take Roy into custody. He was produced in court seven hours later under heavy police security which kept the media at bay. The CJM’s court sat specially on a holiday on account on ‘shivratri’.
Roy was reportedly reluctant to accompany police initially with his doctors citing medical ground. Later his battery of lawyers made a request to take up Roy’s remand at Sahara Shaher itself. It was only around 5:45 pm that the cops finally left with Roy using the rear gate of the compound, followed by a fleet of police vehicles.
When police produced the NBW papers before the court, the CJM asked Roy whether he had anything to say on the issue. He told the court that he had always complied with the law of the land and that he had never tried to run away from the court. He left it on the court to decide the future course of action.
Thereafter, the CJM retired to his chamber for drafting of the order. When the proceedings resumed about half an hour later, the CJM directed police to ensure Roy’s presence in the Supreme Court as per the deadline set by the apex court.