SC issues contempt notice to Sahara’s Subroto Roy

Subroto Roy, chairman of Sahara India

Subroto Roy, chairman of Sahara India. Reuters

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to Sahara India managing director Subroto Roy and two others for alleged interference in the ongoing Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation into the 2G spectrum case.

The petition filed by the ED investigating officer Rajeshwar Singh said that the notice was served to Roy to appear before it relating to a Rs 150 crore transfer made by the Sahara Group to Swan Telecom in the alleged connection with the 2G scam. The petition mentioned before a bench comprising justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly alleged that Roy not only appeared before the ED but also tried to blackmail the investigating officer. Besides Roy, the contempt notice has also been issued to the editor and news director of Sahara India Media, Upendra Rai, and its reporter Subodh Jain.

Justices Singhvi and Ganguly said the bench is “prima facie satisfied that an attempt has been made to interfere with the investigation into 2G spectrum scam being carried out by the investigating officer...” The court said it has taken suo motu cognisance of the blatant attempt to interfere and subvert the CBI and ED investigation into the 2G spectrum case by Sahara Samay, which is part of Sahara India group headed by Subroto Roy.

The bench also warned those under scanner to not breach the ‘Lakshman Rekha’, and that any disregard of its directions would land them as the ‘state guest’.

The court restrained Sahara Samay and its news channel from carrying out any story on Rajeshwar Singh in respect of 25 questions the channel had sent to him. The strong warning from the apex court came in the wake of the contempt petition by Assistant Director of Enforcement Rajeshwar Singh telling the court that after the ED issued summons on Subrata Roy, he received 25 personal questions that concerned him and his family, with the stated intention of Sahara Samay running a series of stories based on it.

The questions included details about Rajeshwar Singh’s family, their assets and the expenditure on his daughter’s birthday celebrations. The questions put to him by Sahara Samay hinted that Singh led a lavish life style and wanted to know who financed him. Rajeshwar Singh submitted the replies to the questions sent to him by Subodh Jain to the apex court in a sealed cover.

‘This (25 questions and the intention to run a series) comes after your MD (Subrata Roy) was issued summons. Therefore, the nexus is more than apparent. This gentleman (Upendra Rai) is extraordinary and offers him bribe,’ Justice Ganguly said, pointing to senior counsel Siddartha Luthra who appeared for Roy and Rai.