A private lavatory, air con, and three secretaries...how the other half live in jail

Tycoon will have a conference room next to his cell


Ever since Subrata Roy was detained in prison earlier this year amid allegations of raising £2.3bn in illegal bonds, the Indian tycoon has not had everything quite his way.

Firstly, his request that he be held under house arrest instead of inside South Asia’s largest prison was turned down. Then, a request for a cooling machine to be installed in his cell was rejected. Last month, he lost a request that he be released on parole.

But things finally appear to have turned in Mr Roy’s favour. From tomorrow, the 66-year-old, currently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail, will have access to an air-conditioned meeting room, video conference facilities and the services of up to three secretarial staff. He will also be able to make use of a private lavatory.

A greenlight for the unusual arrangements was given by India’s highest court after Mr Roy said he needed to sell off some of his property assets, including London’s Grosvenor House Hotel and New York’s Plaza Hotel, in order to secure £950m for bail. The Supreme Court granted him 10 days to complete the sale of the properties.

“When he applied for parole he said ‘if you want me to raise money I cannot do it from inside jail’,” Mr Roy’s lawyer, Harish Salve, told The Independent. “So the court said ‘if you have a proposal, we will look at it’.”

According to reports, Mr Roy will have use of a 30ft by 18ft conference room, internet and mobile phones, and a video conferencing facility that includes a 52-inch screen television.

Mr Roy and two officials from his company, also currently in jail, will stay in other rooms attached to the conference facility and will be free to work through the night, should the requirements of speaking to potential buyers in the US require them to do so.

The Grosvenor House Hotel cost Mr Roy £470m when he bought it in 2010 The Grosvenor House Hotel cost Mr Roy £470m when he bought it in 2010

Mr Roy, whose Sahara Group conglomerate is said to be worth an estimated £6.6bn, is involved in a dispute with India’s capital market’s watchdog amid claims that two of his firms raised £2.3bn by selling bonds that were found to be illegal.

The companies have claimed they paid the money back to investors but the market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, has said they did not. Mr Roy, who sponsors a Formula One team and the Indian national hockey team, was ordered to be held in jail after he failed to answer a court summons in March.

Reports say that selling the Grosvenor House Hotel, which he bought for £470m in 2010, and the Plaza Hotel in New York, in which he bought a 75 per cent share in 2012 for £343m, are central to his plans to raise the bail fee. The Reuters news agency said the Supreme Court assessed his liability in the matter to be more than £3bn. Mr Roy’s company also owns the Dream Hotel in New York.

Among the potential buyers for Mr Roy’s properties, according to local media reports, are Indian billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla, US-based Madison Capital Holdings and the royal family of Qatar. Mr Poonawalla recently said he was prepared to bid up to £555m for Mr Roy’s London hotel, which was reportedly valued at £520m by one property agent earlier this year.

Mr Roy, said to be India’s largest private employer, who once owned a cricket team in the Indian Premier League, has denied any wrongdoing and claimed he missed the court’s summons because he was attending to his ailing mother.

Nobody from the Sahara Group was available for comment. Sunil Gupta, a legal officer at Tihar Jail, which is said to be home to more than 10,000 inmates, said: “We are complying with the Supreme Court directive. From tomorrow, we will start.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk