The Telegraph
 
CIMA Gallary

Sahara chief fails to appear before SC, faces non-bailable arrest warrant

New Delhi, Feb 26 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a non bailable arrest warrant against Sahara chief Subrata Roy for his failure to appear before it in connection with a case in which two of his companies have been directed to refund Rs 20,000 crore to investors.

”We had already declined yesterday Roy's plea seeking exemption from personal appearance. He has not appeared even today and we are issuing non bailable warrant returnable for March 4,” a bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar said.

When senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Roy, informed the court that he has been unable to appear because of the ill health of his 95-year-old mother, the bench shot back “the arms of this court are very long. Yesterday only we had refused your plea for exemption from personal appearance. We will issue the non bailable warrant. This is the Supreme Court of the land.”

”Yesterday we told you that we are not inclined to exempt him from personal appearance. If other directors can appear, why can't you?” the bench said.

On February 20, the court had come down heavily on the Sahara group for not refunding Rs 20,000 crore of investors money despite its order and summoned Roy, Ravi Shankar Dubey, Ashok Roy Choudhary and Vandana Bhargava, directors of its firms--Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIREC) and Sahara India Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHIC)-- to be personally present before it on February 26.

Jethmalani sought to explain Roy's non-appearance by saying that he was sitting on the bed-side of his ailing mother and holding her hand.

He also placed before the bench the medical certificate on Roy's mother's ill health and said on all earlier occasions, the Sahara Chief had complied with the apex court's order.

However, the bench said, “for last two years we have been seeing what's happening in the matter”.

On Tuesday, the bench had made it clear that “rule of law” has to be maintained and Roy has to comply with its February 20 order in which he along with three directors of his companies have been summoned to appear.

During the hearing earlier, the bench had observed that the Securities & Exchange Board of India could go ahead with the sale of group properties whose sale deeds were handed over to the market regulator to recover Rs 20,000 crore.

”Those properties you can sell. We allow you to sell them and recover the money. If they are encumbered properties then you can file criminal case against the company. The case must be brought to a logical conclusion,” the bench had said.