A new set of Supreme Court judges are being assigned to hear the high-profile Sahara case. One of the two judges hearing the case is retiring. The other wrote to the Chief Justice of India offering to opt out of the matter.
Subrata Roy, the 65-year-old chairman of the unlisted Sahara conglomerate has been in jail in Delhi for two months over his group’s alleged failure to refund lakhs of small investors in two outlawed bonds scheme.
Justice JS Khehar has reportedly written to the Chief Justice of India RM Lodha, offering to recuse himself from the case. Justice KS Radhakrishnan, who was hearing the case with him, is retiring and allegedly spoke last week of “pressure” in the case.
Mr Roy, one of India’s most enigmatic corporate personalities, is mired in a long-running legal battle between his group and the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
He was detained on February 28 after failing to appear at a contempt hearing, and has been in a Delhi jail since March 4. Mr. Roy, who has denied any wrongdoing, has yet to be formally charged.
The court had asked the group to make an interim payment of Rs. 10,000 crore to secure Mr. Roy’s release on bail. Last month, Sahara proposed to the court paying the money in installments, saying the amount was too large to be paid in one go.
The court has rejected different proposals, and asked Sahara to come up with another repayment schedule.
Market regulator SEBI accuses Sahara of raising thousands of crores from small investors through outlawed financial schemes and failing to comply with a court order to refund the money.
Sahara argues it has repaid most investors and that its total liability is less than the Rs. 5,120 crore it had deposited with the regulator after the bonds were outlawed.