Wed, May 07, 2014 - Page 15 News List

India’s top court orders Sahara boss to remain in prison


India’s top court yesterday ordered financial giant Sahara group chief Subrata Roy to remain behind bars until he handed over US$1.7 billion in bail, in another blow for the flamboyant businessman.

The Supreme Court rejected Roy’s challenge against its authority to keep him in jail until he deposited the money, in a case involving repaying tens of millions of dollars illegally collected from small investors.

“There is no merit in the petition. The same is rejected. There is also no merit in the argument that judges should have been recused from hearing the cases on grounds of bias,” Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar said.

“These are calculated mind games by the advocates and should be rejected,” said Khehar, who heads a two-judge panel.

Roy has been in a New Delhi jail since March 4 after failing to appear at a contempt hearing in a long-running battle between his company and the securities regulator over an illegal investment scheme.

Roy, who has a mansion modeled on the US White House, has been ordered to repay investors after raising about 200 billion rupees (US$3.2 billion) from savers in a bonds scheme outlawed in 2012.

The court has also ordered Roy to deposit 100 billion rupees in cash and bank guarantees to free him from jail.

Sahara, a famous name in India through its former sponsorship of the national cricket team, maintains that the company was only helping poor, small investors with the scheme and that it has never defaulted.

The Sahara empire extends from a stake in a Formula One racing team to a sprawling Indian luxury township, the iconic New York Plaza Hotel and Grosvenor Hotel in London.

Roy, 65, has denied any wrongdoing and accused the media of “character assassination.”

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