Head of the Sahara group, Subrata Roy, facing a non-bailable warrant (NBW) by the Supreme Court, on Friday surrendered before the police here. They were on his trail since Thursday.
Much to his chagrin, Roy, who has been facing several controversies for quite some time, was immediately taken to the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) here, who ordered his police custody till March 4, when he will be produced before the Supreme Court.
In a press statement, Roy is said to have made it clear that he would not run away from the police or the court and face the charges.
Since early morning, there was high drama around Roy’s luxurious Sahara City residence, which has seven-star facilities and frequented by Bollywood stars. Media representatives jostled to have a glimpse of the elusive magnate and top lawyers driving down into the palatial building. However, security commandos did not allow them to enter his residence.
Later in the afternoon, Roy’s staff called the police informing that he wanted to surrender following due process. The police reached his residence and later produced the 65-year-old in the court of CJM Anand Kumar Yadav, who rejected Roy’s request to be allowed to be under house arrest and remanded him to police custody.
Interestingly, for more than six hours Roy remained in his home after the arrest till the police took him in a convoy of posh cars to the CJM’s court, which sat specially on a holiday on account of ‘shivratri’.
The magistrate directed that it was the police’s responsibility to produce the Sahara chief before the Supreme Court by the deadline of 2 pm on March 4 for alleged contempt for non-appearance on Thursday in a case of non-refund of more than `20,000 crore to Sahara group investors.
Roy, most probably, would be lodged in a government guesthouse till his date with the Supreme Court.
Earlier, a battery of lawyers failed to get Roy any last-minute relief after the Supreme Court refused to take up his application for recall of the NBW. A last-ditch effort was made before the court before lunch break but the court refused to entertain any plea.
Roy had sought exemption from personal appearance in the court on the ground of ill-health of his 92-year-old mother.
The Sahara chief had on Thursday approached the apex court tendering an “unconditional apology” for his non-appearance in the contempt case and sought recall of the NBW. Moving the court a day after it issued the NBW to be executed by March 4, Roy 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.
Besides seeking recall of the NBW, Roy had sought a stay of the operation of its order during pendency of his plea.
The court had on February 20 come down heavily on the Sahara group for not refunding the investors’ money despite its order and summoned Roy, Ravi Shankar Dubey, Ashok Roy Choudhary and Vandana Bhargava, directors of its firms Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIREC) and Sahara India Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHIC) to be personally present before it.