“All I want to say is this is the best honour my country could give me,” was his message, read out by son Seemanto to the media after the arrest in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. He said his father had surrendered as a law abiding citizen, but the top court said there was no proof of it.
A court had to wait three hours this evening for Mr. Roy to appear for a hearing on his police custody. He told the court that he would like to be placed under house arrest.
Mr. Roy is expected to be in custody at least till March 4 as the Supreme Court refused to take up his plea against the arrest warrant today, saying there is “no urgency.”
“The Sahara chief is very attached to his mother; her condition remains fragile and he was hoping for a Supreme Court relief,” said Seemanto Roy in Delhi.
The Sahara group has vast real estate holdings and interests in media companies and hotels. Mr. Roy, who calls himself its ‘chief guardian’, has been accused of failing to comply with a 2012 court order to repay crores to investors in Sahara companies.
Sahara says it had returned all but Rs. 2,000 crore to investors and more than 100 truckloads of receipts had been given to market regulator Sebi, or the Securities and Exchange Board of India. There would have been a “bloodbath and suicides” if they hadn’t paid, the company said.
This morning, Mr. Roy had declared he was “not absconding” after a police team that landed with a warrant at his sprawling residence in Lucknow last evening couldn’t find him. The Sahara chief said he was out consulting doctors and meeting lawyers at the time.
Today he appealed to the court to keep him in “house arrest with my ailing mother till March 3,” and said he “can’t handle this level of agony and humiliation.”
He has repeatedly cited his mother’s illness for not appearing in court.