SC’s Ay­o­d­hya hear­ing gives a breather to Sa­hara chief

Sum­moned On Feb 28, But Case Yet To Be Listed

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - Dhanan­jay.Ma­ha­p­a­tra @times­group.com

New Delhi: Pro­longed hear­ing in the Ay­o­d­hya land dis­pute case has given un­ex­pected relief to Sa­hara Group chair­man Subrata Roy as it de­layed by nearly eight months his personal ap­pear­ance be­fore the Supreme Court in a con­tempt case for de­fault­ing in de­posit­ing Rs 25,781 crore, as per a 2012 or­der.

On Jan­uary 31, a bench of Chief Jus­tice Ran­jan Go­goi and Jus­tices A K Sikri and San­jay Kis­han Kaul had di­rected personal pres­ence of Roy on Fe­bru­ary 28 and said, “We make it clear that the con­tem­nors have been sum­moned to the court to en­able the court to pass ap­pro­pri­ate or­ders so that the law can take its own course and reach de­sired con­clu­sion.”

The SC had on Au­gust 31, 2012 di­rected the Sa­hara Group to de­posit the en­tire amount with mar­ket reg­u­la­tor SEBI af­ter can­celling the one-time fully con­vert­ible deben­tures, floated by Sa­hara Real Es­tate and Sa­hara Hous­ing, through which they had col­lected money from three crore in­vestors over the years.

On March 4, 2014, the SC had sent Roy and two other di­rec­tors of the Sa­hara Group com­pa­nies to jail for com­mit­ting con­tempt of court by vi­o­lat­ing its or­ders di­rect­ing de­posit of the amount with SEBI. Roy had re­mained in jail till May 2016, when he was granted bail af­ter promis­ing to de­posit the amount as per SC

If the case against Subrata Roy isn’t listed be­fore CJI Go­goi’s sched­uled re­tire­ment on Nov 17, his suc­ces­sor Jus­tice Bobde would have to re-con­sti­tute the bench with 2 new judges

fixed fresh dead­lines.

On Jan­uary 31, the court was in­formed by SEBI coun­sel Pratap Venu­gopal that the Group has de­faulted in de­posit­ing Rs 5,781 crore of Rs 25,781 crore. Sa­hara coun­sel Vikas Singh’s re­quest for ver­i­fi­ca­tion of the amount al­ready paid was brushed aside by the bench, which said such ver­i­fi­ca­tion would fol­low af­ter the en­tire amount was de­posited.

But, the sched­uled list­ing of the case on Fe­bru­ary 28 was can­celled giv­ing re­prieve to Roy from pos­si­ble ad­verse or­ders. On March 6, Jus­tice Sikri re­tired, which re­quired the CJI to re­con­sti­tute the bench.

Be­fore the bench could be re­con­sti­tuted, pe­ti­tions seek­ing re­view of the SC’s De­cem­ber 14 clean chit to the NDA gov­ern­ment in the Rafale fighter jet deal kept the CJI-led bench busy from March till May 10, when it re­served the ver­dict. Since re­open­ing of the court af­ter sum­mer break, the CJI-led bench had been busy hear­ing on a day-to-day ba­sis cross ap­peals by Hindu and Mus­lim par­ties for own­er­ship of 2.77 acre Ram Jan­mab­humi-Babri Masjid dis­puted land at Ay­o­d­hya.

With Ay­o­d­hya land dis­pute case hear­ing sched­uled to be con­cluded on Oc­to­ber 17, the CJI could now have breath­ing space to look into list­ing of the con­tempt pe­ti­tions against Roy and two other Sa­hara Group com­pa­nies. The SC would re­main closed from Oc­to­ber 28 to Novem­ber 2 for Deep­awali. If the case does not get listed be­fore CJI Go­goi’s sched­uled re­tire­ment on Novem­ber 17, his suc­ces­sor Jus­tice S A Bobde would have to re­con­sti­tute the bench with two new judges.

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