The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 4 , 2014
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Sahara chief gets extended custody from SC, ink on face from bystander

New Delhi, March 3 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday rapped the Sahara group for not abiding by its orders and taking contradictory stands on the repayment of investors’ money.

“You push us to the corner. Had you been serious, this position would not have arrived,” a bench told Sahara chief Subrata Roy.

Roy proferred an apology but the court said it was not happy and extended his police custody.

The court also ordered two directors of the company to be taken into police custody.

Earlier in the day, there was a moment of drama when a man said to be a lawyer threw ink at Roy’s face as he was entering the court.

Getting off a police Bolero, dressed in his trademark white shirt and black waistcoat, Roy assured the media: “I promise that I will meet you all after coming out”.

Suddenly, a man in the crowd threw ink on Roy’s face, removed his own shirt and started shouting “He is a thief and has stolen money from the poor”.

Immediately, Roy was escorted inside the court premises. Lawyers and others present roughed up the miscreant, later identified as one Sharma, before he was taken away by the police to Tilak Marg station.

Roy, who was taken into police custody from his home in Lucknow on Friday, was brought here on the orders of the apex court, which had issued a non-bailable warrant against him and had asked him to be presented at 2pm on Tuesday.

The chief of Sahara group, which claims to have a net worth of over Rs 68,000 crore and an asset base of over Rs 1.5 lakh crore, has faced the ire of Supreme Court after he failed to appear before it on February 26 as ordered by it.

It was a first-of-its-kind incident for Roy, who has been in controversy for quite some time because of a long-running dispute between Sahara group and the stock market watchdog, which has found ”various illegalities” in raising funds to the tune of over Rs 24,000 crore by two Sahara firms.

In an order dated August 31, 2012, the Supreme Court had ordered refund of this money to about three crore investors through the Securities & Exchange Board of India. Later in December 2012, the group was asked to make the refund in three instalments.

The group deposited the first intalment of Rs 5,120 crore with Sebi, but said the remaining amount was already returned to investors directly -- a claim contested by market regulator Sebi.

Earlier in April 2013, Roy was also summoned to appear personally before Sebi. After that appearance the flamboyant chief of the diversified group famously said he had spent close to one hour at the regulator's office and was not offered even a cup of tea.

Sharma, the man who threw ink, once hurled a shoe at Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi. On another occasion, in 2005-06, he had procured a death certificate made in the name of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to show the high level of corruption.

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