Why would a man like Sahara group chief Subrata Roy suffer two years of incarceration in Tihar if his dues did not add up to even a fraction of his personal wealth? Why would such a wealthy person not just settle his dues?
These were pointed questions the Supreme Court posed on Wednesday when it scanned details of Roy's wealth while hearing his plea for an extension of his interim bail to six months after the business magnate was released on custodial parole on May 11 to complete rituals linked to his mother's death.
The court gave Roy extension until 11 July and asked him to pay Rs 200 crore to Sebi before that date. If he fails to do this, he will have to surrender and go back to jail. The court has also allowed him to travel anywhere in India. Roy's counsel Kapil Sibal showed a list of personal wealth and assets to assure the court Roy would not run away from the court-fastened Rs 36,000 crore financial liability, of which he has already deposited Rs 12,000-odd crore with market regulator Sebi.
Sibal presented a sealed cover document to a bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices A R Dave and A K Sikri listing Roy's personal wealth including immoveable assets in India and moveable assets abroad, including gold and other precious items valued in euros, dollars and pound sterling.
Awestruck, the bench was about to blurt out the total value but Sibal stepped in at the right time to stop the court. "Please keep it secret and in sealed cover. If Roy is released for six more months he will pay every penny that is due from him. Market regulator Sebi can independently sell the assets," he said.
An intrigued bench said, "Your wealth and assets are huge and valued at a price that is far bigger than the liabilities. A person with this kind of wealth, why did he suffer two years of incarceration and not pay up the dues. Why is he reluctant to pay?"
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:52 PM IST