As Sahara group chief Subrata Roy’s stay in Tihar Jail continued, the Supreme Court on Thursday appeared unrelenting saying that its order sending him and two company directors to custody is not a punishment and that the matter of contempt will be dealt with separately.
Making it clear that Rs 10,000 crore demanded from the group as an immediate payment is not a bail bond, the apex court said that it would consider punishment arising out of contempt only after the group complied with its order that the company should deposit Rs 20,000 crore of investors’ money with market regulator Sebi.
“We are not punishing anyone. We are just trying to enforce our orders. We never said that it is a mode of punishment. Contempt petition is still pending. We would deal with the punishment part also but only after getting our orders complied,” a bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and JS Khehar said.
It said that paying Rs 10,000 crore would show bona fide of the company after which it would release Roy and two directors.
“It is not correct to say that Rs 10,000 crore is a bail bond. It is not that. It is the principal amount to be paid by the company and it would show bona fide on the group for release,” it said.
In the meanwhile, Sahara Group expressed its inability before the Supreme Court to immediately pay Rs 10,000 crore for securing bail of its chief Subrata Roy and its two directors, who have been in jail since March 4.
The group told the bench that it can pay Rs 2,500 crore immediately and rest Rs 2,500 crore in cash within three weeks after release of Roy and two directors, Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary.
The case has been posted for further hearing on April 9.
The apex court had earlier imposed a condition that Roy will be freed on bail only if he pays Rs 10,000 crore out of which Rs 5,000 crore has to be in bank guarantee and rest Rs 5,000 crore in cash.
The court, however, asked Sahara to file its proposal before the registry and then it will consider it.
Roy and the other two directors of the group have been in judicial custody since March 4 for not abiding by the apex court’s order for depositing Rs 20,000 crore of investors money with SEBI.
65-year-old Roy had earlier submitted that the apex court’s order for detaining him for not paying Rs 20,000 of investors’ money with SEBI was illegal and unconstitutional and sought quashing of the order.
A group of senior advocates headed by Ram Jethmalani, who had appeared for Roy and the company, had told the bench that its approach was “biased” and it should not hear the petition challenging the order.
The counsel had said it was unconstitutional to send a man behind bars for not paying the money and also questioned the order putting a condition of paying Rs 10,000 crore for getting interim bail.
Sebi, however, had opposed the stand taken by Roy’s counsel, saying that his petition was not maintainable.