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SC bench to Sahara chief: you are in jail by choice

Jailed Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy’s plea for his release on humanitarian grounds today evoked a sharp reaction from the Supreme Court which said “you are in jail by choice”.

“One thing which is troublesome is that the person (Roy) says there is an asset of Rs 1,85,000 crore. He tells the court that he has so much of money but when it comes to paying one-fifth of that he is unable to pay.

“You have to pay only the one-fifth of your amount.

The person who is blessed with so much money is sacrificing his liberty in jail and not parting away with his property. You are in jail by choice,” a bench headed by Justice T S Thakur observed and referred to his earlier submissions when Roy had claimed that the group has sufficient assets to pay the investors.

The remarks were made when senior advocate Kapil Sibal was making a submission that it was not fair for the court to put Roy inside the jail when the contempt proceedings against him were not over.

Further, he said, other large business houses did not have to suffer like this and their loans of considerable amount like Rs 1,000 crore get rescheduled for payment in five or 10 years by the RBI or banks.

The senior advocate said it was difficult for Roy to arrange a big amount for his release by staying inside the jail and the court should consider humanitarian grounds for his release.

However, the bench said “please appreciate we have certain constraints. Read the previous orders passed by this court. You will know why your client is in jail. Read it you will not say.