Business Standard

RFL scam: Court extends custody of Singh brothers; seeks police reply on REL ex-CMD's bail plea


Press Trust of India New Delhi
A Delhi court Thursday extended till November 14 the judicial custody of former Fortis Healthcare promoters Malvinder Singh and his brother Shivinder for allegedly misappropriating funds of Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL).
Besides, it sought response of Delhi Police on a bail plea of Sunil Godhwani, former CMD of Religare Enterprises Limited (REL), also an accused in the case. RFL is a group firm of REL, which was promoted earlier by the Singh brothers.
The court also extended the judicial custody of Godhwani and other accused -- Kavi Arora and Anil Saxena -- till November 14 in the case.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat issued notice to the investigating officer of the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police and directed him to file a reply to Godhwani's bail plea of by November 4.
The plea claimed that the investigation has been biased as the police has not yet probed Siddharth Mehta of Bay Capital, despite the fact that he was named in the disclosure statements of all other accused.
Malvinder (46), Shivinder (44), Godhwani (58) and Arora (48) and Saxena, were arrested by the EOW of Delhi Police for allegedly diverting the money and investing in other companies.
The bail application, filed through advocates Rajat Katyal and Himanshu Anand Gupta, alleged that Mehta hatched the conspiracy with the Singh brothers to bring down the share value of REL and caused loss to the shareholders, and filed the complaint as an "eye wash" to make the chairman and the employees the "scape goat".
"The whole conspiracy was hatched in order to ward off the litigation going on between the Singh brothers and Daiichi. This way it was ensured that optically, no money or holding comes to the brothers in their individual capacity which was capable of being attached in ongoing Daiichi case," it claimed.
Bay Capital and its associate companies are significant minority shareholders of REL. Mehta was appointed non-executive non-independent director of Religare Enterprises in February 2018.
The plea claimed that Godhwani was not the sanctioned person in loan sanctioning and disbursal process.
"Bias of the investigating agency was apparent as nothing has been stated or investigated from the persons to whom the inter-corporate deposits (ICDs) were given, though the same stands crystallised in the SEBI report and instead on surmises applicant (Godhwani) is being held responsible for all the misdeeds," it alleged.
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 five persons 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 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," police had alleged.

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First Published: Oct 31 2019 | 6:30 PM IST

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