HC stays proceedings against Subrato Roy

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed the proceedings against Subrato Roy, Chairman of Sahara India Group, before a lower court which had issued a bailable warrant against him in a case of alleged cheating and forgery in a housing project launched by his company.

Justice Ajit Bharihoke said the proceedings and the execution of the warrants against Roy and four other company officials would remain stayed till May 10, the next date of hearing.

Earlier, the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate had directed the Delhi Police to execute the warrant against Roy and others by February 9.

The warrant was issued on a complaint filed by Neeraj Pandey who alleged the company has not started the housing project despite getting a payment of Rs one lakh in 2003.

He has alleged the company launched the scheme Sahara Swarn Yojna for developing 217 townships all over the country including the NCR region.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the company, said the order of the lower court was "malicious" as instead of issuing summons first, it had straightaway issued the bailable warrants against Roy and others.

The fact that the alleged accused hailed from Lucknow and not from the national capital was ignored by the trial court while taking cognizance of the complaint of Neeraj Pandey, Singhvi said.

Moreover, the complainant had submitted before another bench of the High Court that he had accepted the amount paid by the company following the arbitration proceedings, Keshav Mohan, another lawyer of the company, said adding the case was of "civil nature".

The court posted the matter for further hearing on May 10.

The complaint, filed on April 12, 2009, alleged that despite the promise to give him the house, no progress was made in its project in the NCR region and the company after six years offered to return Rs 1.58 lakh.

The complaint was lodged for registering an FIR for alleged cheating and forgery against Roy and others after the police refused to lodge it.

"It is apparent that till date no allotment has been made to the complainant. It is also apparent that even the site of the township has not been disclosed to him, giving rise to the presumption that despite collecting money from the proposed allottee the township has not been established," the lower court had said while issuing the warrants against Roy.

The court had said there was enough prima facie evidence to take action against Roy and other company officials.

"It is also apparent that all the promises were held out to the general public through brochures/booklets which prima facie amounts to forging the documents. In my opinion, there is prima facie enough material on record to proceed against them for offences punishable under Sections 420(cheating), 468(forgery), 506(criminal intimidation) and 120B(conspiracy) of IPC," the CMM had said.