Former New York-based Indian journalist Prakash Swamy sent to jail in Sahara-related case

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Supreme Court of India. (Photo: Indo Asian News Service)

A former New York-based journalist, now in Chennai, was sent to Tihar jail April 27, for contempt of court in the matter of the purchase of a Sahara-owned hotel in New York City.

India’s Supreme Court judges sentenced Prakash Swamy, 64, to a one-month jail term for contempt of court on grounds that he failed to keep his word given in an affidavit, and put down more than $100 million dollars to prove the bona fides of the intended purchase of the Plaza Hotel in the Big Apple.

Swamy in his affidavit had said MG Holdings was buying Plaza Hotel, according to several Indian news reports. The court demanded he deposit an amount of around $117 million into the SEBI-Sahara Refund account, to prove the bona fides of the intended purchase.

On April 17, Swamy’s attorney informed the court the payment could not be met. The court ordered Swamy’s passport be seized and that he deposit an amount of approximately $1.5 million and appear in court April 27.

Swamy, a veteran reporter in New York for many years, asked for forgiveness from the judges who however, said it would send a “wrong signal” if they set him free, several Indian news outlets reported.

“When you filed affidavit in the court you should have undertaken due diligence. You should have also borne in mind the consequences,” the three-judge bench is quoted saying in news reports. “You should have realised the gravity of the case,” said Justices Dipak Misra, Ranjan Gogoi and A.K. Sikri.

Swamy’s attorney argued that the New York-based holding company should be held responsible and not Swamy.

 

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