The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it was “willing” to defreeze the bank accounts of Sahara and allow the group to sell properties to raise Rs. 10,000 crore for getting bail to Subrata Roy and sought details in this regard.
“We are willing to pass an order. You (Sahara) tell us you want to raise money. Tell us about the property and bank accounts. You have not given us so far,” a bench comprising justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and J.S. Khehar said.
The bench, which had last year frozen all bank accounts of companies and restrain them from selling any properties without its approval, made the remarks as senior advocate Rajiv Dhavan, appearing for the Group, said it is difficult to raise the money under these conditions.
At the end of the day-long hearing, the counsel said the company will identify the properties along with the bank accounts and will inform the court and seek defreezing of bank accounts.
He said raising money has become a difficult proposition as the chief of the Group, Subrata Roy and two senior officials are in jail.
“People sitting in jail under the court’s order cannot do business,” Mr. Dhavan said and added that “in order to make things workable there must be variation in order.”
“Your lordship has been rigid about this case, certainly making it difficult to argue,” he submitted.
Further, he complained that Mr. Roy and two others are in jail on the basis of order which does not appear to be legal and the apex court transgressed its power.
“It is a civil liberty issue of gross proportions,” the senior advocate said and added that “the March 4 order is grossly and entirely illegal and draconian which concerns the entire Bar.”
“If contempt cases are decided in such a manner it is a great transgression of jurisprudence,” he said.
Wednesday’s hearing also some heated arguments in the beginning with the counsel making it clear to the bench that he cannot complete arguments in a within a specified time as desired by it.
The bench wanted Mr. Dhavan to conclude his arguments today itself but he said cannot do so and would need at least three hours.
He started his arguments after senior advocate Ram Jethmalani completed his submission, a little before lunch recess.
Earlier on April 9, the apex court had rejected Mr. Roy’s plea plea that he be put under house arrest to enable him negotiate deals for arranging money to repay investors.
He also said Sahara was trying to strike a deal with international buyers and the problem is that it would be difficult to do so when he is in jail.
The apex court had earlier imposed a condition that Mr. 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.
However, Sahara Group, on April 3, had expressed its inability in immediately paying Rs. 10,000 crore for securing bail for Mr. Roy and its two directors Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary, who are in jail since March 4.
The 65-year-old Mr. Roy had earlier submitted that the apex court’s order for detaining him for not paying Rs 20,000 crore of investors’ money with SEBI was “illegal and unconstitutional” and sought quashing of the order.