London's Grosvenor House hotel could be mortgaged to bail Sahara Group's Subrata Roy
A file photograph of Sahara group chief Subrata Roy.Reuters

Troubled Indian financial services group Sahara India Pariwar has sought court permission to mortgage London's Grosvenor House and New York's Plaza hotels to shore up cash to post the 100bn rupee ($1.6bn) bail of its jailed owner Subrata Roy.

Mortgaging the two hotels, alongside a third property in New York – the Dream Downtown hotel – will help the group raise 30.7bn rupees ($496m, £317m, €402m), Sahara lawyer Rajiv Dhawan told India's highest court on 2 December.

The proposal is the latest attempt by the firm to secure Roy's release

The apex court has sought Indian markets regulator Sebi's views on the mortgage proposal and set 17 December as the date for its next hearing.

Dhawan told the Supreme Court "This is the best possible deal we could have after the proposal to sell the hotels to the Sultan of Brunei fell through in August.

"We do not want to sell them in distress."

Sales Authorised

Meanwhile, the Sahara group has secured the Supreme Court's approval to sell four Indian properties, which it said will help raise 26.22bn rupees.

Reports from earlier in the month said a clutch of investors had agreed to lend $1.55bn to Sahara for a year. The loan will reportedly help refinance the current mortgage held by the Bank of China and backed by the London and New York hotels.

Roy has tried to sell the three hotel assets from his prison's guest house but no deals have been struck thus far.

In August, a spokesman for the Sultan of Brunei dismissed reports that an investment firm affiliated to him had tabled a $2bn bid for the three Sahara hotels.

Earlier, American property investor Madison Capital tabled an $800m bid for Roy's US hotels, while an investment arm of the Qatari royal family and an Indian pharma billionaire, Cyrus Poonawalla, offered to buy the British property, which is located in the Mayfair area and managed by J W Marriott.

Roy has been in jail since 4 March after two group companies - Sahara Housing and Sahara Real Estate - failed to comply with the apex court's order to refund $3.9bn to 30 million investors.

Roy acquired the New York hotels for close to $800m in 2012 and had purchased the Grosvenor for $725m in 2010. The acquisitions were financed through borrowings from the Bank of China.