The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the National Capital Territory of Delhi to intimate the court as in how much time the investigation will be completed regarding the misappropriation of Rs 2397 crore through RHC Holding Pvt Ltd qua Director of Shell Entities, in relation to the bail plea of Shivinder Mohan Singh, promoter of several entities and shareholder of REL.
However, the three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice A.S. Bopanna did not consider the argument of bail at this stage.
Siddharth Luthra, Senior Advocate representing Shivinder, argued that the petitioner has been languishing in Judicial Custody since October 2019, 23 months to be precise. Charge sheet has been filed by the Investigation Officer. Shivinder can’t be kept for longer period of time in custody, contended Luthra.
However, the Bench observed, “These allegations are serious in nature. Investigation is going on. But admittedly, it has been observed by the Investigation officer that money has still to be traced out.”
Luthra submitted that it is not a case, where the bail application got dismissed twice. “I was granted bail by the trial court and then vide a High Court order, they sent back me to Jail,” he said.
Senior Advocate Basant for the complainant stated about more than Rs 2000 crore has been embezzled. Investigation is not closed yet. To which the CJI asked Basant, how much time will it take to complete the investigation. “You can’t be amending stories,” said the CJI.
The averments against Shivinder by the prosecution were that he concerted with other persons along with his brother in manipulating with the management affairs of the company. Shivinder, at the behest of his brother Malvinder Singh and other co-accused for their personal benefit, siphoned the funds of Religare Finvest Limited. By creating a Corporate Loan Book, he also utilised the company funds and corporate loan policy was never followed by the Sanctioning Authority.
Shivinder had approached the apex court seeking regular bail. Earlier, the accused was granted bail by the trial court and vide order dated June 14, 2021, the Delhi High Court set aside the trial court order of bail granted to Shivinder on the petition of Religare, which moved the Delhi High Court, challenging his bail. A First Information Report got lodged u/s 409, 420/120-B IPC. He contended before High Court that co accused bail was also dismissed ,considering the gravity and seriousness of offence.
Religare Enterprises Ltd (REL) is a public listed company and Core Investment Company (CIC) which has made investments in its subsidiary companies, of which Religare Finvest Ltd. (RFL) is the one. Respondent No.2 having absolute control over REL and its subsidiary companies, put RFL in poor financial condition by way of disbursing the loans to the entities having no financial standing.
The High court was of the view that 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. Thus, the parameters set out by the Hon’ble Supreme Court for cancellation of bail in Kanwar Singh Meena (Supra), have been met out.
The trial court rightly observed that once supplementary charge sheet has been filed, and no further investigation necessitates Shivinder’s detention.
Reliance was placed on the decisions in Sanjay Chandra vs CBI 2012 (1) SCC 40, citing the factors to be kept in consideration while granting bail. Supreme Court in Mahipal vs Rajesh Kumar (2020) 2 SCC 118 are as under –
“16. The considerations that guide the power of an appellate court in assessing the correctness of an order granting bail stand on a different footing from an assessment of an application for the cancellation of bail. The correctness of an order granting bail is tested on the anvil of whether there was an improper or arbitrary exercise of the discretion in the grant of bail. The test is whether the order granting bail is perverse, illegal or unjustified. On the other hand, an application for cancellation of bail is generally examined on the anvil of the existence of supervening circumstances or violations of the conditions of bail by a person to whom bail has been granted. “