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Indian firm asks staff to chip in $1,600 each to pay bail for boss

Chairman of Sahara Subrata Roy
Dibyangshu Sarkar | AFP | Getty Images

Indian firm Sahara has asked each of its employee to pay 100,000 rupees ($1,670) to fund the $1.7 billion bail to get the boss out of jail, according to reports.

In a letter sent to workers on Friday, the company, which owns New York's Plaza Hotel and London's Grosvenor House hotel, has asked staff to find $83.5 million bail money for Subrata Roy in return for shares in the company, according to Indian broadcaster CNN-IBN.

Sahara did not respond to phone calls or emails from CNBC.

Roy was arrested on Feb. 28 and has been behind bars in Delhi since March 4 after failing to turn up for a contempt hearing. The Sahara chief has been caught up in a long-running court battle in which two of the firms within the company have been accused of raising $3.9 billion through illegal bonds.

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The Supreme Court said Wednesday that Sahara needs to deposit 50 billion rupees ($834.5 million) in cash with the securities regulator and give another 50 billion rupees in bank guarantees.

The company disputes how much it owes to the security regulator, saying its liability should not exceed the 51.2 billion rupees it has already paid back. Indian market regulators say Roy has not refunded money to investors, a claim Sahara denies.

The Supreme Court has asked Sahara to come up with a plan to pay back the money after a previous installment model was rejected.

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Roy said in a statement last month that he had not absconded after police fetching him for the contempt hearing failed to find him at his house, but he was in fact with his ill mother.

"I am not that human being who will abscond. In fact, being a law-abiding citizen, I shall hate myself to do any such thing ever in my life," the Sahara boss said.

"I feel ashamed and sad for some negative-minded people, emotionally confined media people…They are bullying and indulging in character assassination of a son who is trying to perform his emotional duty towards his ailing mother."