The Supreme Court on Monday asked the official liquidator of the Bombay High Court to auction the Aamby Valley property of the Sahara group to recover the money it has to pay to market regulator Sebi to be returned to investors.
Directing Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy to be personally present in the court on April 27, a bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice A.K. Sikri said that "on that day, this Court may rethink of varying the interim order of bail and think of sending the contemnor to custody".
The bench directed the auctioning as it noted that Subrata Roy has not deposited any amount as directed earlier.
"As no amount has been deposited by the contemnor, we are inclined to go ahead with auction for the Aamby Valley City near Lonavala, Maharashtra," it said.
Asking the official liquidator to set in motion the process of auctioning Aamby Valley, the court, in its order, said that the counsel appearing for Security and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) will "provide the necessary details of the said property to the Official Liquidator, who with his team, shall make the valuation and proceed with the auction".
It also directed that Roy too "shall provide all the necessary details of the property also to the Official Liquidator within 48 hours".
Observing that it had "heard a lot" in the matter and was "tired", the court in its order said: "We are absolutely sure that the contemnor shall be guided by the affidavit that has been sworn and filed before this court and not play truancy with the contents of the affidavit.
"He who plays truancy with the majesty of law, invites the wrath and, may, ultimately, has to suffer the peril," said the bench. Cautioning Roy, it said" "If he resiled from his earlier undertaking, only peril awaited him."
"It just can't go on like this. We will send him to jail. You say something today. Resile from it, come with another idea," the bench said as senior counsel Salman Khurshid, appearing for Roy, tried to tell the bench that Roy had some shares in Aamby Valley and that can only be sold.
Telling Roy that he was granted parole to perform last rites of his mother, the bench said: "He went on a parole for the death of his mother. He should have been back in jail in 12 days.
Besides Roy, the court directed the presence of Prakash Swany - the power of attorney holder of MG Capital Holdings LLC, New York.
The court in the earlier hearings of the matter was told that MG Capital Holdings LLC intended to offer $550 million for Sahara's stakes in Plaza Hotel at New York. It had agreed to deposit Rs 750 crore with SEBI Sahara Refund Account to show its bona fides.
However, on Monday, its lawyer Sriram Parakkat told the court that after due diligence, the company has found that there is difficulty to go with the transaction.
Taking exception to the way things have developed, the court directed that Swamy will deposit Rs 10 crore in the SEBI Sahara Refund Account, which shall be forfeited towards costs. The amount has to be deposited in 10 days and on failure to do so, the court warned it may issue non-bailable warrants against him.
Asking the Ministry of External Affairs to ensure that Swamuy does not leave the country, the court also directed the Centre to issue a Red Corner Notice against him in the course of the day.
The top court had in 2012 asked Sahara to return the investors' money that Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd had raised in 2008 and 2009.
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