Sahara chief gets 'office' in Tihar to negotiate sales
The Tihar Jail, where Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy is lodged, will be a real estate business spot till mid-August for buyers interested in Sahara's international assets as the group needs to raise Rs.10,000 crore to get Roy out of jail.
Sahara has to raise the amount for the bail of Roy and two directors of Sahara India Real Estate Corp. Ltd. and Sahara Housing Investment Corp. Ltd. - Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar respectively - who are also lodged in the Tihar with Roy.
With the Supreme Court's permission, Roy can negotiate the sale of the group's international assets with interested buyers inside Tihar Jail between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. everyday under police supervision. The process will start from Aug 5 and continue for the next 10 days.
Informed sources said that a 30 by 18 feet conference room with an attached bathroom and a 12 by 12 feet annexe inside the Tihar court complex has been readied for Roy and the two Sahara directors.
Jail authorities have sent a letter to Delhi Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung to notify the conference room as a special jail but with certain relaxations - phones and laptops, WiFi connectivity and visitors from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on all days except Sundays and gazetted holidays.
A Tihar official, on condition of anonymity, told IANS: "The Sahara Group will pay for the privileges."
"The room, which is used for confidential meetings and press briefings by the director general of prisons, has a 52-inch TV for making presentations, video-conferencing and a table that seats 25. It also has wood-paneled walls and is fully air-conditioned," he said.
The Sahara chief has been in Tihar Jail since March 4 over the issue of refunds to investors in a financial instrument issued by two group companies in violation of norms.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) says Sahara has to pay more than Rs.37,000 crore by way of the refund amount and interest. While Sahara says it has already paid much of the money that is due, the Supreme Court has told Roy that he needs to raise Rs.5,000 crore in cash and Rs.5,000 crore by way of bank guarantees to get bail.
The Sahara boss and the two directors are currently housed in a section for inmates above 60 in jail number 3 at Tihar.
Roy and the two directors will stay at the annexe attached to the conference room and will be free to conduct business through the night considering that they will be dealing predominantly with people in the US and Europe. However, secretarial staff will only be allowed at visiting hours.
The 200-acre Tihar Jail is the largest prison complex in South Asia. Meant for about 6,000 prisoners, the jail currently houses over 14,000.
(Posted on 05-08-2014)