India's Supreme Court Tells Sahara Group To Pay $1.7 Billion in Cash And Bank Deposits For Bail Of Founder Subrata Roy

 @SnehaShankar30
on March 27 2014 2:34 AM
Subrata Roy_Sahara
Vijay Mallya (R), co-owner of the Force India Formula One team, and Sahara Group Chairman Subrata Roy shake hands at a news conference in New Delhi on Oct. 11, 2011. Reuters/Adnan Abidi

India's apex court on Wednesday set bail for Subrata Roy, head of the Sahara group, at 100 billion rupees ($1.7 billion) in cash and bank guarantees, news reports said.

The Supreme Court ruled that Roy will be freed from judicial custody if he pays 50 billion rupees in cash to market regulator, the Securities Exchange Board of India, or SEBI, and another 50 billion rupees in bank securities. The group operates New York’s Plaza Hotel and London’s Grosvenor House, and sponsors India's national cricket team and has a stake in a Formula One racing team, among its many businesses.

Sahara’s lawyers have reportedly asked the courts for access to a few of the company's bank accounts, which have been seized by authorities, Reuters reported, citing one of the lawyers representing the group. The group’s lawyers on Wednesday proposed to repay 200 billion rupees within a year in five installments, by selling real estate assets, including a payment of 25 billion rupees in three days, according to Bloomberg. They also asked to be allowed to pay 35 billion rupees in three installments and the remaining 70 billion rupees as a fifth installment. 

Roy, 65, was arrested on Feb. 28 after failing to appear in court for the hearing of an ongoing legal battle with market regulator, SEBI. Sahara's legal woes include raising $3.2 billion from nearly 30 million investors in 2012 through processes deemed illegal under Indian law by the regulator.

While the company has repeatedly claimed that it has paid back its investors, last month, the court said that the documents provided by Sahara "cast serious doubts about the existence of the so-called investors," according to Agence France-Presse.

The Sahara group, with interests in sectors including retail, hospitality, finance and real estate, is reportedly valued at 682 billion rupees ($11 billion).

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