GO
Loading...

Head of India's Sahara conglomerate surrenders to police

One of India's most prominent businessmen, Subrata Roy, turned himself in on Friday after the Supreme Court this week ordered his arrest for failing to appear at a hearing in a long-running dispute with the country's securities regulator.

Roy is chairman of Indian conglomerate Sahara, which has vast real estate holdings and interests in media companies and hotels, including the Plaza Hotel in New York and London's Grosvenor House. The unlisted company, which says it has a net worth of $11 billion, is also household name in India thanks to its sponsorship of the national cricket team.

(Read more: India, not China, holds key to smartphone growth)

The court had issued an arrest warrant for Roy after he failed to turn up to a contempt hearing on Wednesday. A day later, police went to Roy's sprawling residence in the northern city of Lucknow, but could not find him.

Photographer | Collection | Getty Images

Roy had previously asked the court to excuse him from attending hearings so he could look after his ailing, 92-year-old mother, but his request was rejected.

Early on Friday, Roy issued a statement saying he had not been "absconding". His lawyer and son both later said Roy had turned himself in.

"As a law-abiding citizen he wilfully decided to submit himself to the Lucknow police," Roy's son, Seemanto Roy, told a media briefing in New Delhi.

(Read more: SingaporeAirlines-Tata Indian joint venture orders Airbus A320s)

"He gave assurance to be present in the next hearing on March 4," he added.

Police in Lucknow confirmed that Roy was in their custody.

Sahara is locked in a battle with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), which accuses it of failing to comply with a 2012 court order to repay billions of dollars to investors in a bond scheme that was later ruled to be illegal.

The company says it has already paid back investors and that its remaining liability had been less than the 51.2 billion rupees ($826 million) it had deposited with SEBI.

(Read more: Is India going back to bullion?)

Roy, who sports a bushy moustache and often wears a black waistcoat, is renowned for his eccentric ways. He calls himself managing worker and chairman of Sahara and "chief guardian" of the company, which he refers to as the world's biggest family.

India media sometimes describe Roy as a billionaire but last year, the 65-year-old said his personal assets did not exceed $1 million. He is regularly photographed with cricketers and Bollywood stars.

Featured

Contact Crime

  • CNBC NEWSLETTERS

    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    › Learn More

American Greed

  • Brothers Darain and Cory Atkinson start US FIDELIS, a business selling vehicle service contracts. But when the cars break down those "warranties" prove worthless while the brothers pocket millions and live it up.

  • When customers found fault in their car service contracts, confusion ensued on who to hold responsible.

  • While U.S. Fidelis was bringing in business, the Better Business Bureau was receiving thousands of complaints against the company.