New Delhi, March 12: The Supreme Court will Thursday hear the plea by Sahara group chief Subrata Roy challenging the court’s March 4 order sending him to judicial custody, which he described as illegal.
The bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar said they would hear the matter Thursday as they have to go through the pleadings. (Read: What lead to Subrata Roy’s arrest?)
Seeking his release forthwith, Roy in his plea sought the setting aside of the March 4 order saying it was illegal. Roy said he was confined in Tihar Jail since March 4 and continues to be incarcerated for an indefinite period and does not know how long he will remain in custody and why he was in custody. (Read: Subrata Roy shamed publicly)
At the outset of the hearing, counsel Ram Jethmalani referred to the A.R. Antulay judgment and said that by the said judgment, the Supreme Court was obliged to rectify its own errors.
Jethmalani told the court it was embarrassing to tell the two judges that their order was not right. “It is a deep embarrassment for me. If your lordship wants to hear me, then I have no problem,” he said.
Justice Khehar then said: “We will see if the pleadings embarrass us. We will see it. You should know, you have drafted it.” The court directed the hearing of the matter for 2 p.m. Thursday.
Roy said in his petition that all he was aware of was that Justice Radhakrishan and Justice Khehar wanted to enforce an order of his alleged obligation to return the investors’ money. He said the company liable has shown that it has fully complied with the order and provided adequate security for the small portion not fulfilled.
The court without compliance with law and principles of natural justice has incarcerated him under a law which does not exist and without following the ordinary cannons of natural justice, Roy said in his petition.
He contended that the order of incarceration was a complete nullity and it was the duty of the court to “terminate this unlawful detention and release the petitioner forthwith”.
The petition said the court must set right the wrong done by its order as Roy was deprived of his liberty by a “totally unjust remand to jail without judgment of conviction, without proper charges framed or notice issued and without a hearing”.
On Wednesday morning, the Sahara group moved the Supreme Court pointing to the detention of Roy in a matter involving returning investors’ balance of Rs.19,000 crore that its two companies SIRECL and SHICL had collected through Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures (OFCD) in 2008.
Roy was sent to judicial custody March 4 by the bench of Justice Radhakrishnan and Justice Khehar for failing to place before the court an acceptable proposal for securing the investors’ money.
The apex court Feb 20 had directed Roy and three directors of SIRECL and SHICL to be present in the court Feb 26. While the directors presented themselves, Roy stayed away on the grounds of his mother’s ill health.
Apparently displeased over the defiance of its order, the apex court directed police to arrest Roy and present him March 4.
On March 4, the court rejected Roy’s proposal to sell some of his assets to mobilise money to pay to marker regulator SEBI as security to cover the Rs.19,000 crore.
The two Sahara companies – Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHICL) – had collected Rs.24,000 crore from investors through OFCD. The court by its Aug 31, 2012, order had directed the companies to return the investors’ money with 15 percent interest.
Since the court had directed that the entire redemption of OFCDs would be done by SEBI, Sahara was asked to deposit the money with the market regulator.
In December 2012, Sahara had deposited Rs.5,129 crore with SEBI.