04/08/2015 11:03 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Supreme Court Says Sahara Chief Roy is 'In Jail By Choice'

FILE - In this Tuesday, March 4, 2014 file photo, head of Sahara India conglomerate Subrata Roy speaks to the media as he arrives at the Supreme Court for a hearing in New Delhi, India. India's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by the Indian tycoon accused of a multibillion dollar fraud to be released from jail and allowed house arrest. Roy has been jailed since the end of February on charges that his company failed to return billions of dollars to investors. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File)

Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy, who's in jail and pleading to be let off on bail on humanitarian grounds, was told by the Supreme Court that "you are in jail by choice."

Justice TS Thakur made these remarks when Roy's counsel, Kapil Sibal, said it was unfair on the part of the court to keep Roy in jail when contempt proceedings were still ongoing.

Sibal added that several other large businesses had considerably-large loans of Rs 1,000 crore and above, which got rescheduled for payment in five or 10 years by the RBI or banks.

Thakur, unimpressed, retorted that Roy was in jail because he had previously claimed that his group had sufficient assets to pay debtors.

"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," a bench headed by Justice T S Thakur observed, "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."

In July, Sahara Group’s counsel Kapil Sibal told the Supreme Court stating that it would be impossible for the group to repay Rs.36,000 crore in one-and-a-half years as directed by the court.

The apex court on 19 June had set a schedule for Sahara chief Subrata Roy and his group to return Rs.36,000 crore in instalments over 18 months to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).