New Delhi: Sahara group on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that its chief Subrata Roy is not liable for refunding Rs 24,000 crore collected by its two firms from investors, countering the arguments of SEBI which wanted his passport to be impounded till the contempt plea against him and companies is decided.
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for a Sahara firm facing contempt for not refunding the amount as per apex court order, submitted that the redemptions have already been made by Sahara firms. A bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and JS Khehar questioned Jethmalani's stand, saying that it is contrary to the affidavit by the company earlier.
"It is not correct. Your affidavit says otherwise. Your affidavit is staring at us," the bench said. Jethmalani also urged the court to take a sympathetic view, contending that contempt proceedings did not lie in the present facts and circumstances and Roy is not liable for repayment."I do not deny that he is Bhishmapitamah of family (head of Sahara group) but it does not mean that he is liable," he said.
The market regulator, however, submitted that all the money raised by Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIREC) and Sahara India Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHIC) went to Sahara group sister companies and Roy is equally liable. "Roy was repeatedly seeking appointment with SEBI chairman and he had communicated with SEBI on this issue many times. He cannot dissociate now saying that he has nothing to do with the companies," senior advocate Arvind Dattar said.
"The Directors and promoters of the companies should be given maximum imprisonment. They should not be heard till Rs 24,000 crore is deposited with SEBI," he said, adding, "They should be directed to be present in court and their passports be impounded till the matter is decided by court". He sought maximum punishment for Roy and others under Section 12 of Contempt of Court Act which provides punishment up to six months jail term.