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Delhi court dismisses bail plea of former Religare CMD Sunil Godhwani

Law Crime

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Citing medical ground in the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak, former CMD of Religare Enterprises Limited (REL) Sunil Godhwani sought bail in a case of misappropriation of funds of Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL), but was denied relief by a Delhi court on Saturday.

Additional Sessions Judge Vipin Kumar Rai dismissed the application which had claimed that the accused was suffering from sleepapnea, a sleeping disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.

Senior advocate Rebecca John, appearing for the accused, had told the court that in the ongoing health crisis due to COVID-19, the illness may have serious consequences for the accused.

Godhwani has been arrested by the ED as well as the Delhi Police for allegedly misappropriating funds of Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL).

Advocate Nitesh Rana, the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) special public prosecutor, opposed the bail plea, saying that sleep apnea was not a serious ailment and the jail authorities were already taking extra care due the coronavirus threat.

Rana also opposed the accused's contention that he had ailing parents, saying his family was there to take care of them.

The case also involves former Fortis Healthcare promoters Malvinder Singh and his brother Shivinder, who are currently in judicial custody.

RFL is a group firm of REL, which was promoted earlier by the Singh brothers.

Malvinder (46), Shivinder (44) and Godhwani (58) were arrested by the economic offence wing (EOW) of Delhi Police for allegedly diverting the money and investing in other companies. Later, the ED took their custody.

The EOW had earlier told the court that during the course of investigation, it has been disclosed by the accused persons that an amount of approximately Rs 1,000 crore has been transferred to various persons from the entities linked to corporate loan book and finally it was siphoned off.

Religare has accused the three, along with others, of diverting funds, claiming that loans were taken by Shivinder while managing the firm but the money was invested in other companies.

The counsel for Malvinder had earlier told the court that the money was with Radha Soami sect head Gurinder Singh Dhillon but the police was not going after him since he had political connections and that Malvinder was being made a soft target.

The police had said that a look out circular (LOC) had been issued against Malvinder as he was absconding.

The EOW had registered an FIR in March after it received a complaint from Manpreet Suri of RFL against Shivinder, Godhwani and others alleging that loans were taken by them while managing the firm but the money was invested in other companies.

According to the police, the complainant stated that the four had absolute control on REL and its subsidiaries.

"They put RFL in poor financial condition by disbursing loans to companies having no financial standing and being controlled by them. The companies to which loans were disbursed willfully defaulted in repayments and caused a loss to RFL to the tune of Rs 2,397 crore," the police had alleged.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Sat, May 16 2020. 19:41 IST