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SC mulls guesthouse for Roy

New Delhi, July 25: The Supreme Court today asked the Delhi government to explore the feasibility of shifting Sahara chief Subrata Roy to a guesthouse within Tihar jail for asset-sale negotiations aimed at raising Rs 10,000 crore for bail.

The court made it clear to solicitor-general Ranjit Kumar, who appeared for the Delhi government, that the Sahara chief and two jailed directors should get facilities that are “comfortable but not more than what they deserve”.

Roy had filed a request to be shifted to the jail guesthouse for a week for talks with “prospective buyers/lenders”.

The court asked the government to consider whether it was possible to provide communication facilities like Wi-fi and video conferencing.

“We want to know whether you can make it feasible. It is for you to make it comfortable but not for more than what they deserve,” Justice T.S. Thakur, heading a three-judge bench alongside Justices A.R. Dave and A.K. Sikri, told the solicitor-general.

The court adjourned the matter till July 30.

Earlier, Roy’s senior counsel K.T.S. Tulsi told the court that the Sahara group could install its own communication devices in the guesthouse. But Kumar said this was not acceptable because of security considerations, adding the jail authorities could extend such facilities if the court permitted.

Tulsi also contended that courts had the power to declare any place a jail “in times of exigencies”.

At this, Justice Thakur said the point would have to be examined. “Whether there is an outhouse, whether there is such facility if it is there, is it feasible…whether it can also be declared a jail. These are things which only jail authorities can tell.”

Roy and the two directors have been in jail since March 4 for defying directives by market regulator Sebi and the court to refund Rs 20,000 crore to investors. The court has said they must deposit Rs 10,000 crore to be considered for bail and has permitted the sale of properties to raise the sum.