(Recasts with Roy giving self up, adds background, quotes)
By Tommy Wilkes and Suchitra Mohanty
NEW DELHI Feb 28 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
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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
(Additional reporting by Sharat Pradhan in LUCKNOW; Writing by
Tony Munroe; Editing by Miral Fahmy)