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Saradha judge for Sahara case

New Delhi, May 15: Justice J.S. Khehar, who authored the recent judgment upholding the detention of Sahara chief Subroto Roy, has withdrawn from the case, it was officially confirmed today.

Roy has been in Tihar jail since March after being remanded in custody by the apex court for failing to refund Rs 20,000 crore to investors despite repeated directives from the court.

On May 6, the apex court had upheld the March 4 decision to send Roy to judicial custody.

The Telegraph had on Wednesday reported the recusal but refrained from naming Justice Khehar as the judge had, till late in the night, remained inaccessible.

However, Rakesh Kumar, official spokesperson for the Supreme Court, today invited journalists to confirm the news. But despite persistent queries, he refused to divulge the reasons, only saying a new bench had already been constituted on May 7. He also declined to identify the new bench.

It is learnt that Chief Justice of India (CJI) R.M. Lodha has reconstituted the bench to be headed by Justice T.S. Thakur, who had recently passed the judgment directing a CBI probe into the Saradha and Odisha deposit collection scams.

Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan, who was heading the bench in the Sahara case, retired on May 14.

News that Justice Khehar was withdrawing from the case had surfaced only yesterday, though he had sought recusal on May 6 and the CJI, by a communication the following day, had accepted the plea and constituted another bench.

On March 4, the apex court had sent the Sahara group chief and two of its directors — Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary — to judicial custody for failing to refund the investors, saying such a crime seriously undermined the financial structure of the country.