Sahara chief Subrata Roy has been issued a non baliable warrant for not to appear before the Supreme Court in the suit in which his two companies have been ordered to refund Rs 20,000 crore to investors.
"We had already declined yesterday Roy's plea seeking exemption from personal appearance. He has not appeared even today and we are issuing non bailable warrant returnable for March 4," voiced a bench comprising justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar.
At the outset when senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Roy, informed the court that Subrata Roy has been unable to appear because of the ill health of his 95-year-old mother, the bench shot back
"The arms of this court are very long. Yesterday only we had refused your plea for exemption from personal appearance. We will issue the non bailable warrant. This is the Supreme Court of the land.", said the apex court to senior counsellor Ram Jethmalani, for advocated for Roy.
In reference to his second non-appearance, the bench raised the question "Yesterday we told you that we are not inclined to exempt him from personal appearance. If other directors can appear, why can't you?,".
On February 20, the court issued hefty penal charge against the Sahara group for not refunding Rs 20,000 crore of investors money despite its order and summoned Roy, Ravi Shankar Dubey, Ashok Roy Choudhary and Vandana Bhargava, directors of its firms--Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIREC) and Sahara India Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHIC). It asked all directors to be personally present before it on Wednesday.
Roy could not appear as he tending to his ailing mother, said Jethmalani. He even showed medical certificate on Roy's mother's ill health to the bench and said that the Sahara chief always complied with the Supreme Court's orders on earlier occasions.
However, the bench said, "for last two years we have been seeing what's happening in the matter".
On Tuesday, the apex court rejected the plea of Roy where he sought exemption from personal appearance and had issued direction to him to be present before it today.
The bench clarified that "rule of law" has to be maintained at all costs. In its February 20 order, Roy along with three other directors of his companies were summoned to appear.
The apex court during the hearing earlier contented that Sebi could go ahead with the sale of properties of the group whose sale deeds were handed over to the market regulator to recover Rs 20,000 crore.
The bench said, "Those properties you can sell. We allow you to sell them and recover the money. If they are encumbered properties then you can file criminal case against the company. The case must be brought to a logical conclusion,".
The bench debated on the Sahara group defying its order for the past one-and-a-half years in it's functioning.
The bench said that Sebi can put those properties on auction and get the money after the market regulator had said that let the company itself sell the properties and deposit the money.
In its judgment of August 31, 2012, the apex court directed SEBI to attach properties and recover the money.
Last year, on November 21 the apex court also barred Roy from leaving the nation and also restrained the group from selling any of its properties, for making it clear that the court is not "helpless" in its course of action.