Top court rejects bail plea of Indian tycoon

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India's Supreme Court Wednesday rejected an appeal by an Indian tycoon accused of a multibillion dollar fraud to be released from jail and allowed house arrest.

Subrata Roy, head of the Sahara India conglomerate, has been jailed since March 4 on charges that his company failed to return billions of dollars to investors. Bail was earlier set at $1.68 billion and the company has struggled to raise the funds.

India's securities regulator has accused Sahara India of raising nearly 200 billion rupees ($3.2 billion) through bonds that were later found to be illegal.

Sahara is well known throughout India because it sponsors the Indian cricket team. The company also sponsors the Indian hockey team and owns a stake in Formula One racing team, Force India.

The company has interests in microfinance, media and entertainment, tourism, health care and real estate, including New York's landmark Plaza Hotel and London's Grosvenor House.

The court Wednesday allowed the Sahara group to sell properties in nine Indian cities after the company said it had not succeeded in raising the $1.68 billion needed to obtain bail for Roy.

The court had earlier rejected a proposal by the company to pay bail in instalments.

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