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Sahara boss faces arrest

Sahara officials come out of the Supreme Court in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI)

New Delhi, Feb. 26: The Supreme Court today issued a non-bailable warrant against flamboyant Sahara group chief Subrata Roy for defying its specific directive to appear before it.

A bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice J.S. Kehar issued the arrest warrant after brushing aside the plea of senior counsel Ram Jethmalani that Roy could not appear because he was at the bedside of his ailing mother.

The court asked the police to arrest Roy and produce him before it on March 4.

On February 20, the court had directed the personal presence of Roy and three other directors of his company for repeatedly defying its order on refunding around Rs 24,000 crore of investors’ money. The only legal option for Roy now is to personally appear in court before March 4 and submit an application tendering his apology to avoid the ignominy of being arrested.

The other three directors — Ashok Roy Choudhary, Ravi Shankar Dubey and Vandana Bhargava — appeared before the court today.

Jethmalani’s plea that Roy’s absence may be condoned because the other three were present failed to cut ice with the court. “Even though Mr Ram Jethmalani, learned senior counsel appearing for the alleged contemners, made a mention yesterday, i.e. on February 25, 2014, before this bench for dispensing with the personal presence of Mr Subrata Roy Sahara, alleged contemner No. 5, that request was specifically turned down by this court,” the bench said.

“Today, when the matter is taken up, same request was made by Mr Jethmalani, by moving an application, which was supported by a medical certificate. The said medical certificate was issued by Sahara Hospital and, in our view, the factual position indicated therein does not solicit the exemption sought.

“Since, we have already declined to grant exemption from personal presence of alleged contemner No. 5 on February 25, 2014, we find no reason to accede to the renewal of the request made today. Accordingly, we issue non-bailable warrants of arrest qua Mr. Subrata Roy Sahara, alleged contemner No. 5. He shall be arrested and produced before this court on March 4, 2014 at 2pm.”

It further ordered the three directors present today to appear again on March 4.

 
 
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