Not every CEO challenges his regulatory tormentors to a televised debate, but Subrata Roy, who heads Sahara conglomerate, is not your typical CEO.
Enough is Enough, Sahara said in full page ads this week, days after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) sought Supreme Court approval to arrest Roy and two Sahara directors, escalating a battle between the regulator and one of corporate India's most enigmatic personalities.
In the ad, Roy asked the regulator's top officials for a live 60-minute televised face-off.
The regulator accuses Sahara of raising billions of dollars from small investors through an outlawed financial scheme and failing to comply with a court order to refund the money.
An unlisted conglomerate best known as the lead sponsor of the Indian cricket team and more recently as a buyer of overseas luxury hotels, Sahara argues it has repaid most investors.
It says its total liability is less than the Rs 51.2 billion it had deposited with the regulator as the first repayment installment following the top court's ruling that the bonds it issued were illegal.
The money it raised from small investors, many of them poor villagers who don't have bank accounts, was to be invested in real estate and other projects, according to regulatory filings.
Sahara's other businesses include media and retail.
SEBI has declined to comment on the case, including Roy's challenge to the televised debate.
Roy was not immediately available to be interviewed.
Text: Tony Munroe, Reuters