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Roy stares at Holi in Tihar

New Delhi, March 13: The Supreme Court today declined bail to Sahara chief Subrata Roy as he failed to offer a satisfactory proposal to refund investors, making it almost certain that he would spend Holi inside the high-security Tihar jail.

Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Roy, made an oral offer to pay Rs 2,500 crore out of the Rs 20,000-crore default but the top court was not impressed with the offer.

Although the special bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and J.S. Khehar was willing to hear further arguments on the matter on Friday at 1.30pm, the matter had to be adjourned till March 25 as Jethmalani expressed inability to appear tomorrow.

As the court closes next week for the Holi festival, Roy’s plea could be heard only on March 25, though the court would reopen on March 24.

During the two-hour-long arguments, Jethmalani and constitutional expert Rajeev Dhawan assailed the March 4 order, saying Roy was sent to jail without being heard on the contempt petition filed by Sebi, the capital markets watchdog.

They said the order was passed in violation of constitutional and statutory principles and it was the duty of the apex court to rectify the directive.

The two counsel also urged the apex court to release Roy on bail as he needed to be beside his ailing mother.

However, on behalf of Sebi, senior counsel Arvind Datar questioned the maintainability of the writ petition filed by Roy.

He said it was “astonishing” that the detention order passed against him was being termed illegal and asserted that the Supreme Court was well within its jurisdiction under Articles 129 and 142 to pass such a directive.

Article 129 empowers the apex court to deal with contempt and 142 vests the top court with exhaustive powers to pass any order, decree or judgment to render complete justice.

After hearing the arguments, the court passed the following order at 4pm: “Shri Ram Jethmalani, learned senior counsel, appearing for the petitioner submitted that he has some inconvenience for tomorrow and cannot address arguments tomorrow. Learned senior counsel made a request that the matter be posted on 25.03.2014. Consequently, the matter is posted on 25.03.2014 at 2pm at the request of the learned senior counsel for the petitioner.

“Prayer made by Mr. Ram Jethmalani, the learned senior counsel for the petitioner, for bail cannot be considered at this juncture, since no written proposal for payment in compliance with the directions issued by this court has been made so far.”