Very, very wealthy businessman Subrata Roy Sahara has been sitting in the infamous Tihar Jail in Delhi since March. Sahara leads the Sahara Group, and is involved in media, real estate, hospitality and financial services businesses.
He landed in prison after refusing to attend a number of court hearings in regards to a battle with SEBI, which is India's market regulator. Sahara was implicated in a plan that had small investors put their life savings into his "chit funds," which were later outlawed by the SEBI. Missing so many hearings on this important matter landed him in prison with a whooping $1.66 billion bail.
India's Supreme Court has allowed him to sell some of his many assets to post his massive bail, so he will sell three of his luxury hotels. Sahara owns New York's Plaza Hotel, Dream Downtown Hotel, and London's Grosvenor House. The court has allowed him to negotiate through video chat for six hours, in the event he receives "concrete proposals."
These hotels are Sahara's best "get out of jail (not so) free" card, as the court has already rejected his attempts to pay the bail in installments or move him to house arrest. In 2012, Sahara paid $575 million for the controlling share of the Plaza, and $726 million for this share of the Grosvenor House in 2010. He purchased the Dream Downtown Hotel for $220 million.
Forbes reported the Grosvenor House alone could bring as much as $1 billion, so perhaps Sahara won't have to let go of all his hotels after all. Considering how lavish his life has been thus far, complete with his own cricket team and Formula One team, he must be very disappointed to see these luxury buildings go.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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