Sahara Agrees to Pay Bail to Release Jailed Chief: Report

Sahara Agrees to Pay Bail to Release Jailed Chief: Report

Mumbai: Sahara, a sprawling conglomerate that ranges from media to property and Formula One racing, has agreed to pay the full $1.6 billion (Rs 10,000 crore) to release its jailed chief Subrata Roy on bail, a lawyer for the company said on Friday.

Mr Roy has been held in jail for more than a year after Sahara failed to comply with a court order to refund billions of dollars it had raised in outlawed bonds.

Sahara, once one of India’s most high-profile firms, has in the past made several failed attempts to raise the bail money using its prized overseas hotels that include the Plaza in New York and Grosvenor House in London.

The Supreme Court in March allowed Sahara three more months to raise cash for the bail money. It has warned it could ask a receiver to auction Sahara’s assets if the group fails to raise bail.

The court will hear Sahara’s new bail proposal on Thursday, the Sahara lawyer told Reuters. “All the formalities for the bail bond would be completed before Thursday,” he said, declining to be named.

A Sahara spokesman did not return calls seeking details. Gautam Awasthi, another lawyer for Sahara, said in a statement on behalf of the company that the Supreme Court would hear the case on Thursday.

The $1.6 billion is what Sahara is required to pay initially to get its chief released on bail. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and the Supreme Court have estimated Sahara’s total liabilities due to the outlawed bonds at as much as $7 billion.

Sahara says it has paid 95 per cent of the dues to the bondholders, but the regulator disputes that.

Mr Roy, the company’s founder, styles himself “managing worker” and guardian of the world’s largest family. Several employees have said operations across the group have been hit over the past year without him.

In its last attempt, Sahara was close to finalising a deal with US-based Mirach Capital Group to raise money by taking a loan against its overseas hotels, but talks collapsed.



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