NEW DELHI (TIP): Faced with an unprecedented bail precondition of paying upfront Rs 5,000 crore in cash and another Rs 5,000 crore in bank guarantees for release from jail, Sahara group chief Subrata Roy told the Supreme Court on April 3 that it was not possible for him to arrange the entire amount of Rs 5,000 crore in cash. Roy and two Sahara directors have been in jail for a month now. Roy’s counsel C A Sundaram told the bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar that his client was istead offering to first pay Rs 2,500 crore in cash and the remaining Rs 2,500 crore within 21 days of his release from jail.

However, the bench parried the offer, saying: “Once we have passed the order, it cannot be changed or modified based on oral requests.Whatever modification you are seeking, it must be filed in writing.” Sundaram immediately sought the court’s permission to file an appropriate application for modification of the March 25 bail order, but the bench said, “Whatever application you want to make, you must file it.We will neither bar you nor permit you to file the application. You can exercise your right if it is permissible under the law and relevant rules.” In other words, the plea for modifying the bail order would have to be filed with the registrar.

The next hearing has been scheduled for April 9. The bench clarified that the bail pre-condition of depositing Rs 10,000 crore was not a bail bond, but part payment of the Rs 20,000 crore that was still due from Sahara Housing and Sahara Real Estate. The two firms were asked to deposit the amount in three months through a judgment on August 31, 2012. The bench said, “It is incorrect to suggest that Rs 10,000 crore is a bail bond for securing his release.

It is not a demand made for release, but is a part payment towards fulfillment of depositing the principal amount that will show your (Roy’s) bona fides for release on interim bail. “Our order of March 4 (detaining Roy) was for enforcement of our orders and not a punishment.We will deal with punishment part after hearing pending contempt proceedings but only after our order (August 31, 2012) is complied with.”


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