LUCKNOW (TIP): Sahara Chief Subrata Roy was on February 28 arrested in Lucknow after he surrendered to police, two days after a non—bailable warrant was issued against him by the Supreme Court.
Appearing for Roy in the Supreme Court, Ram Jethmalani told a bench headed by Justice K S Radhakrishnan that 65- year-old Roy is in police custody. Jethmalani also pleaded to the court for recalling of NBW issued by it on February 26. He submitted that the special bench, comprising Justices Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar, which heard the case be assembled today to hear his application.
Justice Radhakrishnan, who sat with Justice Vikramajit Sen, however, said that it is not possible for the special bench to assemble on February 28. Earlier on Friday, in a dramatic turn of events, Sahara chief Subrata Roy said he is not absconding from arrest and is ready to “unconditionally follow” whatever direction the Supreme Court gives him.
A day after the police visited his home in Lucknow to arrest him as per Supreme Court’s orders but failed to find him there, Mr. Roy said he is still in Lucknow and had gone out for sometime to consult “a panel of doctors”. Roy said he has “already informed police to do their duty“. Through a statement signed by him, Mr. Roy also appealed to the Supreme Court to allow him to be with his “ailing mother under house arrest till March 3, 2014”, while adding that he was ready to reach Delhi even on Friday, if court wants him to do so.
Issuing a non-bailable warrant against Roy, the Supreme Court had asked the police to arrest him and present before the court on March 4. Raising an emotional pitch, Roy said he was a “law abiding citizen” and not one who will abscond. “Last evening I had gone out of Sahara Shahar, Lucknow, to consult with a panel of doctors with certain medical reports of my mother and then I had gone to a lawyer’s house also,” he said. High drama marked the police action as a team of Gomti Nagar police station reached there to execute the warrant and conducted searches inside the residence.
Later, SHO Gomti Nagar Ajit Singh Chauhan said that Mr. Roy was not present inside the Sahara Shahar premises, while another police officer said he was not found at Sahara Hospital either. On February 27 , Roy also tendered an “unconditional apology” to the Supreme Court for his non-appearance in a contempt case and sought recall of the non-bailable warrant issued against him. Moving the apex court a day after it issued the non-bailable warrant to be executed by March 4, Roy had admitted that he had “erred” by his non-appearance under a bonafide belief that the court will permit him personal exemption from appearance for one day.
In Friday’s statement, Roy claimed there was no direction against him by the Supreme Court in its orders dated August 31, 2012 and December 5, 2012, (with regard to depositing over Rs 24,000 crore with Sebi for refund to bondholders of two Sahara firms) and still he was “facing all this”. Roy, whose group claims to have net worth of over Rs 68,000 crore and which has been fighting a long battle with regulator Sebi over refund of investor money, said he is sending this letter to the judges. “A lot of people advised me to get admitted in some hospital and I can remain there as it is the general practice to avoid courts on medical grounds. However, I hate to do such drama,” he said. Roy also accused “some negative-minded emotionally-confined media people” for his “agony and humiliation,” claiming they were indulging in ”character assassination.”