Coming down heavily on the Sahara Group for “systematically” frustrating all the orders on refund of over Rs 20,000 crore to depositors, the Supreme Court today dismissed the petition of its chief Subrata Roy against his detention saying the order jailing him was “legal''.

Upholding its order to detain him, the court asked the group to make a fresh proposal for depositing Rs 10,000 crore to get a bail.

A Bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar in a strongly-worded judgment deprecated the attitude of Roy and the group for not complying with its order and for showing “demeanour of defiance''.

The apex court said it adopted a tough method to detain him only after all its efforts to “cajole” the group to pay the money failed.

The judgment, which was delivered by Justice Khehar, said their orders were “systematically frustrated” by Roy and the group and facts revealed that it flouted all the orders of the Supreme Court, High Court and Securities Appellate Tribunal.

The Bench brushed aside Roy’s contention that it should recuse itself from hearing his case and that proper procedure was not followed by it before sending the 65-year-old businessman behind the bars.

The apex court said the arguments are devoid of any merits and it “immaculately” followed the procedure before ordering his arrest.

“It was not possible for us to accept that the procedure under law was not followed while passing the (arrest) order,” the Bench said.

The Bench said judicial orders cannot be allowed to be “circumvented” and disobedience of its orders strike at the very root of rule of law.

The Bench also refused to give credence to Roy’s plea that the group had already refunded the money to investors, saying there was no credible record to prove it.

It said that various orders passed by it in the case since August 31, 2012, have been “skirted” by the group.

The court passed the order on a petition filed by Roy challenging the constitutional validity of its order passed on March 4 by which he was sent to jail for not complying with its order to deposit around Rs 20,000 crore of investors money with SEBI.

“We find no merit in the petition and we dismiss it,” the Bench said.

After the Bench delivered the verdict in a jam-packed courtroom, senior advocate Rajiv Dhawan queried on the status of the application, in which Roy had given a proposal on depositing Rs 10,000 crore in a phased manner to get bail.

The Bench, however, asked him to file a fresh proposal, virtually indicating that earlier proposal was not acceptable to the court.

(This article was published on May 6, 2014)
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