The Supreme Court Wednesday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy for failing to appear before it in person as directed at the court’s last hearing. Roy was also given till March 4 to comply with the court’s order.
An apex court bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice J.S. Khehar, while noting that Subrata Roy’s plea for exemption from personal appearance was specifically turned down, said: “Since, we have already declined to grant exemption from personal presence …on Feb 25, 2014, we find no reason to accede to the renewal of the request made today.”
Apparently displeased, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan said: “The arm of this court is very long. We will issue warrants. This is the Supreme Court of the land. When other directors are here, why cannot he be here?”
Having declined the plea for exemption from personal appearance, the court said, “Accordingly, we issue non-bailable warrants of arrest Subrata Roy Sahara…He shall be arrested and produced before this court March 4, 2014, at 2 p.m.”
The court recorded in its order, “Even though, (senior counsel) Ram Jethmalani made a mention Feb 25 before this bench for dispensing with the personal presence of Subrata Roy Sahara…that request was specifically turned down by this court.”
The court appeared unimpressed by Jethmalani’s plea that 94-year old mother of Roy was in a serious condition and he had gone to be by her bedside and comfort her. “His mother is dying. He is by her bedside, holding her hand,” Jethmalani said, pointing to the seriousness of Roy’s mother’s condition.
Jethmalani said that Subrata Roy had not done anything that court should do anything harsh to him.
Referring to its Feb 20, 2014, order directing the personal presence of Subrata Roy and three other directors of SIRECL and SHICL, the court recorded the presence of three directors – Ashok Roy Choudhary, Ravi Shankar Dubey and Vandana Bhargava.
The court said that three directors “who are present today, shall also remain present in court on the next date”.
The Supreme Court had directed the presence of Roy and three directors of Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Limited (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Limited (SHICL) following the failure of two companies to submit to market regulator SEBI title deeds of its unencumbered properties to secure the balance of Rs.19,000 crore of Rs.24,000 crore that it had collected through Optionally Fully Convertible Debenture (OFCD).
Sahara companies have deposited Rs.5,120 crore with the SEBI in December 2012.