Jailed Indian tycoon Subrata Roy has been shifted from a makeshift “deal room” set up in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail and returned to an ordinary cell, after failing to raise the 100 billion rupees (US$1.6 billion) the courts have demanded as the price of his freedom.
In late July, Roy, who describes himself as the “managing worker” of the troubled conglomerate Sahara India Pariwar, was given permission by the supreme court to move into a “deal room” equipped with telephones and internet so he could negotiate the sale of London’s Grosvenor House Hotel and two luxury hotels in New York City to raise funds for his bail, according to the Financial Times.
Roy subsequently obtained several extensions to the initial deadline, telling Indian judges that a deal to sell the trio of properties, which includes New York City’s Plaza Hotel, to the Sultan of Brunei was nearly complete.
However, he then said the deal fell apart.
A spokesman for the Sultan subsequently denied that the Sultan, or any arm of the Brunei government, was involved in bidding.
Sahara, which has interests ranging from financial services to property, insists it is still in talks with other potential buyers for the trophy hotels which it acquired between 2010 and 2012. But an official close to the company said that such a large deal requires “due diligence, and lots of documentation”, which will require more time.
But still unable to announce an imminent sale, Roy was unceremoniously returned to an ordinary cell when his latest deadline expired earlier this week, in spite of his requests for an additional extension, officials familiar with the situation confirmed on Thursday.
Roy was arrested in February for contempt of court, after failing to appear at a supreme court hearing in a long-running legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
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