Subrata Roy in Guwahati on Sunday. Picture by UB Photos
Guwahati, June 5: The meeting with his pariwar (family) was held behind closed doors, away from media glare, but was one where founder and chairman of Sahara India, Subrata Roy, had an emotional connect with the company's 1,400-odd employees at the GMCH auditorium here this afternoon.
The whirlwind visit to the city is part of his thanksgiving campaign across the country that the "Saharasri", as he is called, featured in, after the man who has been incarcerated over the past two years was granted parole by the Supreme Court on May 6.
The apex court later extended his parole till July 11 to enable him to deposit Rs 200 crore with market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). The court had said Roy was free to meet prospective buyers of properties and move within the country during parole. Roy has been in Tihar jail since March 4, 2014, in connection with an investor refund case, running into thousands of crores, with Sebi.
"He is an emotional man and was here to connect with his pariwar with whom he had not been able to associate with for the past two years and some months. He was here to say thank you for standing by the company and for supporting him while the going was tough," said a Sahara India official who had come with Roy from the company's Lucknow base.
Guwahati was on Roy's itinerary of connect meetings after similar ones in Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Rajkot, Nagpur, Raipur, Delhi and Calcutta. Company sources said the get-together here was kept a closed-door affair as its objective was to pay gratitude to his "family". "We will organise a media conference if we have to share information later," the official said.
Roy, 67, who landed here via Calcutta this morning, was in his customary, formal best. "He was honoured with gamosa, japi and flowers," he said.
Banners declaring the Sahara chief's visit was seen across the city days before the trip. "This is a short trip. He will leave for Lucknow this evening," the official said.
Asked whether he spoke about life in jail, the official said, "No, he hasn't given any such account here today."
Roy's book, Life Mantras, the first in the Thoughts from Tihar trilogy penned while in judicial custody, was rated among the top sellers shortly after release. Roy wrote about the various psychological and emotional aspects of life vis-à-vis the basic instincts inherent in all human beings. Two other books of the trilogy are to be released soon.
Sahara India has businesses in para-banking media, real estate, life insurance, mutual fund, home loans, hospitality, healthcare and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), among other sectors. It has over 12 lakh employees with over 60 lakh others associated with it.
Sources in the company said in Assam alone it has 5,000 employees and over two lakh persons indirectly associated with it. In the Northeast, Sahara has stakes in real estate, life insurance, mutual funds, para-banking and FMCG. "Let me make it clear that Sahara is not a chit fund (deposit-collecting) company. We offer para-banking services," the official said.