The Delhi High Court today set aside the order of a trial court that had granted bail to Shivinder Mohan Singh, a former promoter of Religare Enterprises. The high court stated that the impugned order (of the lower court) suffers from serious ‘infirmities’, resulting in miscarriage of justice.
Justice Suresh Kumar Kait said: “Moreover, the continued detention of Shivinder, in this case, is necessary not only to unearth the conspiracy hatched by him but also to derive trace the siphoned off money which he has credited for his personal benefit.”
The Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police registered an FIR in March 2019 after it received a complaint from Religare Finvest’s (RFL) Manpreet Suri, against Shivinder, former CMD of Religare Enterprises Limited (REL) Sunil Godhwani and former CEO of RFL Kavi Arora and others, alleging that loans were taken by them while managing the firm but the money was invested in other companies.
According to the prosecution, RFL’s authorized representative Manpreet Suri alleged that these accused put RFL in poor financial condition by disbursing loans to entities that had no financial standing and had wilfully defaulted in repayments, thereby causing wrongful loss to RFL to the tune of Rs 2,397 crore.
“While granting bail to Shivinder, the trial court has failed to consider that the present case pertains to a serious economic offense of high magnitude, where a large amount of approximately Rs 2,400 crores including interest has been siphoned off at the behest of Shivinder and his brother Malvinder Mohan Singh by diverting it through various financial transactions, by granting a loan to shell companies, of whom they were the directors or promoters or beneficiary in interest,” said the high court.
“The grant of bail in a case involving cheating, criminal breach of interest by an agent of such a large magnitude of money, affecting a very large number of people would also have an adverse impact not only on the progress of the case but also on the trust of the criminal justice system that people repose,” said Justice Kait. “….however, (trial court) should have borne in mind the peculiarity of fraud and conspiracy involved in this case and refrained itself from passing a blanket order releasing Shivinder on bail. No doubt on the premise that investigation is complete and the accused is behind bars for some time and that trial shall take time, bail can be granted but only when the offenses alleged are of lesser magnitude.
“However, the trial court by rendering such an opinion in the present case, lost sight of the enormity of the offense alleged against respondent No.2 (Shivinder),” the court said.
While rejecting Singh’s contention that the co-accused have also got bail, the court also said that the role attributed to each accused has to be seen independently and reasoning for one may not be binding on the other.
It said that considering the seriousness and gravity of the offense, a trial court dismissed on April 1 the bail application of Malvinder, who has also been ascribed a similar role in the present case.
“Thus, in my considered opinion the court below had no ground to grant bail to the respondent No.2 vide its impugned order dated March 3 as the role of Shivinder is not less than Malvinder by any stretch of the imagination,” the court said.
The police had alleged that Shivinder, in connivance with other co-accused, created the Corporate Loan Book (CLB) for the purpose of utilizing the funds of the company to their personal benefits and the Corporate Loan Policy was not at all followed by the sanctioning authority.