Subrata Roy, in police custody, spends night at forest guest house
Lucknow – Sahara chief Subrata Roy, who was sent to police custody till March 4 yesterday after he turned himself in following a Supreme Court warrant, spent the night at a forest guest house in Kukrail, nine kms from Lucknow. His lawyers have requested for a house arrest.
The Sahara chief was arrested at his sprawling estate in Lucknow. A city court that waited three hours for Mr Roy to appear, sent him to police custody till Tuesday – the day the Supreme Court wants him produced before them – but his lawyers say the cops can decide whether to accept his request for house arrest till then.
Mr Roy has repeatedly cited his 92-year-old mother’s illness for not appearing in court in a case linked to his alleged failure to return Rs. 24,000 crore to over three crore small investors. He had also asked to be kept under house arrest so he could be by her side.
On Friday morning, he had declared that he was “not absconding”. A day prior to that, a police team landed at his home with a warrant but couldn’t find him. He said he was out consulting doctors and meeting lawyers at the time and complained that he “can’t handle this level of agony and humiliation.”
As he surrendered in Lucknow, his son Seemanto read out a statement in Delhi offering his detailed defence for missing the Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday, a move that led to the arrest warrant.
“The Sahara chief is very attached to his mother; her condition remains fragile and he was hoping for a Supreme Court relief,” Seemanto Roy said.
He ended with this cryptic message from Mr Roy: “All I want to say is this is the best honour my country could give me.”
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to take up his plea for the arrest warrant to be recalled, saying there is “no urgency.”
The Sahara group has vast real estate holdings and interests in media companies and hotels. Mr Roy, who calls himself its ‘chief guardian’, says he had returned all but Rs. 2,000 crore to investors and more than 100 truckloads of receipts had been given to market regulator Sebi, or the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
In a statement, the Sahara group said there would have been a “bloodbath and suicides” if they hadn’t paid up.