New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the parole of Sahara chief Subrata Roy till 16 September with a condition that he has to deposit another Rs 300 crore with Security and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).
The direction for depositing the amount came after Roy complied with the order of 11 July by which he was asked to deposit the balance of Rs 300 crore, out of the Rs 500 crore promised by him when he was granted parole on humanitarian grounds following the death of his mother.
Taking note that 68-year-old Roy deposited Rs 300.68 crore, a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur extended his parole and gave him the opportunity to raise the remaining amount to secure bail in the case.
The bench, also comprising Justices A R Dave and A K Sikri, has allowed the Sahara group to go ahead with sale and alienation of their properties to raise an amount of Rs 5,000 crore as a bank guarantee which they have to deposit in addition to Rs 5,000 crore to get bail for Roy.
During the hearing, the bench made it clear that failure to deposit Rs 300 crore by the next date of hearing would lead to Roy going back to the jail.
The hearing also saw Sebi telling the bench that till now Rs 195.07 crore has been generated by it by selling Sahara properties through e-auction.
However, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Roy, complained that the properties sold through the platform of e-auction has fetched less money than desired and sought a direction to Sebi to take some of the properties out of e-auction.
The bench accepted the request and said that Sahara would inform Sebi in advance before the second round of e-auction about the properties the group desires to take out of the platform for negotiating on its own with the prospective buyers.
It said other properties would have to be sold through e-auction and prospective buyers have to participate in it. When it was repeatedly argued by Sibal the need for pulling out the properties from e-auction, the bench warned him, saying, "Don't play games here with us."
"We are tired of all your games. Don't show all these difficulties," the bench observed. Sebi said it has already sold eight properties of Sahara for Rs 195.07 crore and gave the nod for selling the remaining 50 properties through e-auction.
For the interim bail of Roy, the court had put conditions like depositing Rs 5,000 crore in cash and a bank guarantee of equal amount and tough terms, including payment of the entire Rs 36,000 crore which includes interest. The money will be paid back to the investors of Sahara.
Sibal said the group is working hard to generate the amount and its effort has brought result after Roy was enlarged on parole. He said that by December, the group would be in a position to fulfill all the conditions and talks were going on with
Canara Bank for Rs 1,500 crore bank gaurantee.
However, the bench said Rs 5,000 crore in cash along with Rs 5,000 crore of bank gurantee, was only for releasing Roy on bail and he has to return the money of the investors.
The issue of sale of three overseas hotels of Sahara-- Grosvenor House Hotel in London, New York Plaza and Dream New York hotels -- also cropped up during the hearing.
While Knight Frank India Pvt Ltd said negotiations were underway for the purchase of hotels at $1.3 billion, Sibal said they were offering the amount for all the three hotels, but there are parties who are ready to pay same amount for a hotel each.
Sebi's counsel, senior advocate Arvind Dattar said that Sahara has got prime properties like Aamby Valley which could be utilised for raising the amount. To this, Sibal said, "Why do you worry about my golden hen that hatches golden egg."
The bench shot back, saying, "You at least deposit the golden egg with Sebi."
The apex court had passed an order on 29 March stating that Sebi would also not sell any property owned by the beleaguered group for a price less than 90 percent of the circle rates for the area in question without the permission of the court.
To raise the money, the bench also allowed the group to encash money invested in mutual funds, gold deposits and shares in National Stock Exchange. While granting parole to Roy, the apex court had said they were free to meet prospective buyers of properties and move within the country under police escort.
It had also said that Sebi would, meanwhile, continue with the auction of the properties of Sahara. The apex court had earlier asked Sebi to initiate the process of selling "unencumbered" properties of Sahara group, whose title deeds are with the market regulator, to generate the bail money for release of the group chief.
Sebi was asked to devise a suitable mechanism for the sale in consultation and under the supervision of Justice B N Agrawal, former Supreme Court judge, and seek help of experts or expert agencies, if required in the process.
The regulator was also asked to keep the Sahara group "duly informed about the steps taken by it in which event Sahara shall be free to provide such inputs as may be considered necessary so that the properties fetch a fair price towards sale consideration".