Sahara founder Subrata Roy must pay $8.43 bn or stay in jail: SEBI tells SC

The Supreme Court in 2012 ruled that Sahara group companies violated securities laws and illegally raised over $3.5 billion

Subrata Roy
Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy | File Photo: PTI

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has petitioned the Supreme Court to direct Sahara Group-founder Subrata Roy to pay ₹62,600 crore ($8.43 billion) immediately, or cancel his parole if he doesn’t pay up.

The market regulator said the outstanding liability of the Sahara India Parivar group’s two companies and the group’s chief Roy stand at ₹62,600 crore, including interest, according to court filings seen by Bloomberg. Roy’s liabilities have increased from ₹25,700 crore he was ordered to pay eight years ago.

Sahara Group had written, in an email statement, on Thursday that “it is an absolutely wrong demand by SEBI. It stated that SEBI has “mischievously” added 15 per cent interest and it is a case of double payment as the companies have already paid back the investors.

Also read: Sebi takes guard against security threats, plans to hire agency

The Supreme Court in 2012 ruled that Sahara group companies violated securities laws and illegally raised over $3.5 billion. The companies said monies were raised in cash from millions of Indians who could not avail banking facilities. SEBI could not trace the investors and when Sahara firms failed to pay up, the court sent Roy to jail.

Earlier this year, Roy had claimed in the Supreme Court that he had cleared most of his dues owed to SEBI. The market regulator claimed that Roy had paid only part of the money, including interest.

Roy also requested the court remove the security personnel assigned to him. However, the bench, led by Chief Justice SA Bobde, refused to remove the order of assigning security personnel to Roy as senior advocate Arvind Datar and standing counsel Prathap Venugopal had opposed it.

Venugopal argued that the security personnel was not for Roy’s personal security but to keep an eye on him and to ensure he turns up in court. The bench, however, waived personal appearance by Roy in court in future hearings.

Roy was sent to Tihar Jail by the apex court on March 4, 2014. He came out on parole on May 6, 2016, after spending more than two years in prison, to perform his mother’s last rites. He has been out of prison ever since.

Also read : Sebi moves SC demanding ₹62,600 crore from Sahara group

Investigative ‘docuseries’ Bad Boy Billionaires on Netflix even has an episode on Roy, titled “The World’s Biggest Family”. Earlier, a lower court in Bihar had restrained the makers of the series from using Subrata Roy’s name. Netflix then filed a plea in the Supreme Court against the order. However, the apex court refused to entertain the plea and granted Netflix the permission to approach the Patna High Court.

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