Change of the judges on the bench failed to revise the fate of yet another plea by the Sahara Group as the Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to release Subrata Roy from jail and also junked a request to shift him to a guest house for putting him under house arrest.
In its first order on the battle between Sahara and Sebi over refund of investors’ money, a bench of Justices TS Thakur and AK Sikri nixed Sahara’s application to release Roy and two directors from Delhi’s Tihar prison so as to enable them negotiate with the prospective buyers for raising money.
The bench also declined to modify the bail order passed by the previous bench wherein the Group was asked to furnish Rs 10,000 crore to have Roy and directors Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary freed.
“The (previous) bench has passed a conditional bail order after due and proper consideration having regard to the attendant circumstances, including conduct of the contemnors. The order can be modified only under very compelling circumstance,” it noted.
The court pointed out total amount to be deposited had grown to between Rs 33,000 crore to Rs 35,000 crore and the Group had to deposit less than one-third of it to show their bonafide.
“After all, even when this part of the order is complied with and the contemnors are set free, they will have to arrange the deposit of the balance amount, which again is very substantial. That apart, it is not the case of the contemnors that they or anyone of them suffers from any medical condition that calls for hospitalisation or an atmosphere conducive for recovery from any disease,” it said.
The two-judge bench also referred the case to the Chief Justice of India for constituting a three-judge bench to henceforth hear the case in view of one of the impugned order having been passed by a three-judge bench in December 2012.
The only relief that Sahara received was in the form of allowing them to sell and mortgage certain properties and also enabling them to operate bank accounts, which they had been restrained to operate under the court orders.
The bench said that Sahara should be allowed to encash fixed deposits, bonds and securities and also permitted it to sell properties in nine cities of the country to raise Rs 5,000 crore. It allowed Sahara to charge immovable properties in Pune’s Aamby Valley for furnishing a bank guarantee of remaining Rs 5,000 crore.