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Sahara Allowed to Sell 9 Properties, Bank Accounts Defreezed

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Sahara Allowed to Sell 9 Properties, Bank Accounts Defreezed

Sahara group chief Subrata Roy at the Supreme Court on March 4, 2014 (Reuters)


The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected Sahara chief Subrata Roy's plea for house arrest but defreezed the group's bank accounts and allowed it to sell nine properties in India.

The top court also rejected Sahara chief's plea to relax the bail conditions.

Mr Roy has been held in Tihar Jail since March 4 after failing to appear at a contempt hearing in a long-running legal battle between the group and securities regulator over refund of crores to nearly thirty lakh investors. The Supreme Court had earlier asked Sahara to furnish Rs 10,000 crore as bail for its chief. Sahara's earlier proposals to pay the money in instalments were rejected by the court.

Sahara's lawyer had today pleaded the court to grant parole to Mr Roy, saying that his mother has been ailing for five days. The top court asked to file a petition on this.

Supreme Court today allowed Sahara to raise Rs 4,298 crore by selling nine real estate properties in Amritsar, Ahmedabad, Chauma, Ajmer, Bhopal, Bhavnagar, Jodhpur, Pune and Vasai. The court also directed Sahara to deposit the amount from property sale with Securities and Exchange Board of India. Further, the court also defreezed Sahara's bank accounts worth Rs 2,421.67 crore.

Sahara in a statement said, "We are very thankful that today we got clearances of bank accounts and certain select properties."

The Sahara group had earlier offered to sell its crown jewel overseas hotels to meet the bail conditions for its jailed chief. Sahara owns the landmark Plaza hotel in New York and Grosvenor House in London. The top court sought more information on the three overseas hotels the group had offered to sell.

The Supreme Court today also appointed eminent jurist Fali S Nariman as amicus curiae to advise it on the case.

In another development, the two-judge bench hearing the Sahara case sent the matter to a three-judge bench and justified the appointment of amicus curiae by saying, "This issue involves more stakes and nature of the case involved."

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