The Delhi High Court has rejected the bail plea of former Fortis promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh in a case related to alleged misappropriation of funds at Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL). Justice Mukta Gupta turned down the plea saying that he does not fulfil criteria to be released.
On April 3, Shivinder had moved the Supreme Court for interim bail citing Covid-19 infection risk. The apex court had directed the Delhi High Court to look into the matter.
Justice Mukta Gupta, in her order, denied bail to Shivinder, saying he was allegedly involved in more than one offence which were punishable with more than 7 years sentence and "hence does not qualify to be released pursuant to directions of the High Powered Committee". The high court also noted that Singh, who has been in judicial custody since December last year, is also allegedly involved in a money laundering case underPrevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Shivinder Singh, his brother Malvinder, former CMD of Religare Enterprises Sunil Godhwani, Kavi Arora and Anil Saxena were arrested by Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police in October last year over charges of fund siphoning filed by Manpreet Singh Suri of Religare Finvest. The complaint alleged that the accused had taken loans while managing Religare Finvest, but had invested these funds in other companies.
Singh, in his plea, had applied for interim bail for eight weeks in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, claiming that with over-crowding of jails, no social distancing could be maintained. He claimed there were chances he might get infected.
He also claimed in his bail plea that considering the kind of experience he has in the health sector, he should be given an opportunity to do community service as his efforts can result in an all India outreach. He said he would be able to initiate utilisation of available infrastructures with the Government and the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) after interacting with officers of various ministries and hospitals including private hospitals. He also cited example of his experience in handling Uttarakhand floods.
Shivinder's bail plea was opposed by the Delhi police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) and the Enforcement Directorate, with both agencies contending that the petition was not maintainable.
Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra and advocate Chaitanya Gosain, appearing for EOW, told the court that Singh was not entitled to interim bail as he does not fulfill the relevant criteria set by the committee. EOW said that Singh was not eligible for the relief as he was "facing trial for offences punishable under section 409 IPC (criminal breach of trust) punishable up to life Imprisonment or ten years imprisonment".
"Secondly, the petitioner (Singh) is facing trial in more than one case and in all the three cases, he is not on bail... and thirdly, the petitioner is facing trial in offences relating to the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act," it had also said.
Mehra also informed the court that Singh was lodged in a cell where he is alone and hence, "as far as social distancing is concerned, the same is adequately taken care of in case of the petitioner".
The court, after hearing both sides, said since Singh was in isolation, therefore social distancing was being maintained. Court said he needed to maintain social distancing while using common facilities, like rest room or cafeteria, and he could also take steps like washing his hands to avoid getting infected.
By Chitranjan Kumar