A Delhi court Tuesday dismissed a bail application of former Fortis Healthcare promoter Malvinder Mohan Singh in a money laundering case related to alleged misappropriation of funds at Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL). Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Yadav did not grant the relief to Malvinder considering the severity of the offence, magnitude of the amount involved and the possibility of witnesses being influenced by him.
“The investigation conducted in this case concluded that various companies whose directors or office bearers were persons related to or associated with applicant/accused were granted loans by RFL on the instructions of accused Malvinder Mohan Singh. It is therefore, obvious that allegations against accused Malvinder Mohan Singh have been substantiated by cogent evidence collected during investigation. “It has been found during investigation that entities either owned or associated with accused Malvinder Mohan Singh were involved in systematic placement/layering acquisition and projection of proceeds of crime as untainted over a long period,” the court said in its order. Malvinder sought bail on the ground of parity that Shivinder Mohan Singh, his brother and co-accused in the case, had been granted bail by the Delhi High Court on July 23.
During the hearing held through video conferencing, advocate Manu Sharma, appearing for Malvinder, told the court none of the investigating agencies, Serious Fraud Investigation office, Security and Exchange Board of India, RBI, police or Enforcement Directorate (ED) have ever raised any complaint that the accused may flee from justice or can tamper with evidence. The lawyer further argued that the amount advanced as loan by RFL was returned by RHC Holdings to 14 companies which were not owned by Malvinder. He said that the complaint was filed in January 2020 and till date further investigation was not complete and that cannot be used to oppose the bail application.
Central Government Standing Counsel Amit Mahajan, appearing for ED, opposed the bail application saying Malvinder cannot claim any parity with co-accused Shivinder on the strength of July 23's bail order as the Supreme Court had said that the impugned judgment will not be treated as precedent for any other case. Public shareholding in REL is almost 49 per cent while REL was holding 99.9 per cent shares of RFL and hence public shareholders were cheated because of the wrongful loss caused to RFL, claimed Mahajan assisted by ED's Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana.
He further said that further investigation regarding the rest of money, which was Rs 1500 crores, and other companies was still pending. The charge sheet filed in the case stated that investigation has revealed the role of Malvinder, Shivinder and former CMD of REL Sunil Godhwani in sanctioning and disbursements of Corporate Loan Book (CLB) loans which were given without adequate documentation, risk assessment and due diligence. Investigation further concluded that co-accused Godhwani being Chairman and Managing Director of REL in connivance with promoters Malvinder and Shivinder entered into conspiracy for acquisition and utilization of proceeds of crime generated out of criminal activities and its projection as untainted property, the charge sheet stated.
RFL is a group firm of REL – Religare Enterprises Ltd, which was earlier promoted by Malvinder Singh and his brother Shivinder Singh. The EOW registered an FIR in March last year after it received a complaint from RFL''s Manpreet Suri against Shivinder, Godhwani and others, alleging that loans were taken by them while managing the firm but the money was invested in other companies. ED lodged a money laundering case based on this.