Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

#RECALCITRANT: Arrest warrant issued against Grosvenor House hotel owner Subrata Roy

Subrata Roy, chairman of India's Sahara Group and owner of the Grosvenor House Hotel in London is facing arrest after the Indian Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant against the billionaire.

The 'non-bailable' warrant comes after Mr Roy failed appear in court over a $2 billion fraud involving tens of thousands of investors.

The Sahara Group is accused of raising billions of dollars from the small investors - many of them poor villagers who don't even have bank accounts - to fund real estate projects using an illegal financing scheme.

Mr Roy and his company has been involved in a long-running dispute with India's financial market regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) over the precise amount that the company is required to pay back to the duped investors.

SEBI maintains that the sum amounts to more than $2 billion whilst Mr Roy insists the figure is less than $500 million.

Lawyers for Mr Roy say he has been unable to attend court as he has been caring for his ill mother.

Whilst the Supreme Court has heard evidence from three Sahara board members, judges insist Mr Roy's no-show thus far is a direct challenge to the "integrity" of India's highest court and pledged to ensure that its orders are complied with.

Founded in the early 1970's by Mr Roy with an apparent initial capital of $43, the Sahara Group is one of India's largest conglomerates with more than $25 billion in assets spread across a vast array of businesses, from real estate, finance and power generation to Formula 1 racing, media, entertainment and hotels.

Its overseas assets include New York's historic Plaza Hotel and London's Grosvenor House - arguably the most popular venue for South Asian Diaspora  events - which Sahara purchased from the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2010 for nearly half a billion pounds.

Sahara is perhaps best known as a long-time sponsor of the Indian cricket team.



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