Religare scam: Delhi court denies bail to ex-Lakshmi Vilas Bank VP

Former Lakshmi Vilas Bank Vice President Pradeep Kumar has been accused of abusing his position to conspire and misappropriate funds worth Rs 791 crore

A Delhi court has dismissed the bail plea of former Lakshmi Vilas Bank Vice President Pradeep Kumar in a case related to alleged misappropriation of funds at Religare Finvest Ltd.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vijeta Singh Rawat said as per the charge sheet there was prima facie incriminating material against Kumar.

During the period of the alleged offence committed in 2019, Kumar was the Vice President and Relationship Head of North Regional Office (Delhi), of Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB).

Kumar was chargesheeted in the case by the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi police for allegedly abusing his position and conspiring with the then management of RFL, RHC Holding Ltd, and Ranchem Ltd, to misappropriate a sum of Rs 791 crore.

The court said in its order passed on September 30, "There is no 'just and proper' reasons or 'any other special reason' emanating from the submissions made and material on record to consider giving bail to the accused/applicant (Kumar) in the present case.

"As per the charge sheet there are prima facie incriminating material qua the accused / applicant who was an official of the bank. By facilitating siphoning off of Rs 791 Crores, the economic fabric has been corroded and the implication has to be borne by the public shareholders of REL (Religare Enterprise Ltd). Thus, this court is not inclined to admit the accused on bail."

It has been alleged in the chargesheet that Kumar, in his capacity as President (VP), Regional Relationship Head? North, Regional Office, Delhi of Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB), abused his position to misappropriate a sum of Rs 791 Crores (Rs 750 crores plus interest) which had been placed as fixed deposits (FDs) by RFL with LVB for a short term and free from all encumbrances.

The police submitted that he has been chargesheeted as no such loan could have been disbursed without his knowledge.

He, being the Vice President and Relationship Head, North, had suppressed the discussions that took place with officials of RFL (from the Corporate Office) and had not cared for the security and safety of the bank, police alleged.

Kumar was arrested by the police on September 24 and is currently in judicial custody in the case.

During the hearing, advocate Sanjay Mishra, appearing for Kumar, said the transactions/deposit loans were independently sourced, dealt with and recommended by co-accused Anjani Verma.

"The corporate vertical in the Delhi region was manned by separate independent executives who were taking care of Wholesale Banking Business/Corporate Business in the region. The applicant (Kumar) never permitted the Janpath Branch, Delhi of the bank to create a deposit loan on assurance that documentation would be taken care of at a later stage.

"He had no scope, authority or motive to influence the officials/executives of Corporate vertical business," his bail plea stated.

Senior advocate Mohit Mathur, appearing for RFL, opposed the bail plea, saying the bank was a creditor to RFL with whom the FDs had been created and in complete breach of the contract through which the FDs were created, the money was dealt with by the bankers to cause wrongful loss to RFL.

He argued that no steps were taken for intimating the credit committee of the ban and loans were recommended, sanctioned and disbursed without proper documentation and rollovers were approved and FDs encashed wherein Kumar was allegedly actively participating.

RFL is a group firm of REL, which was earlier promoted by former Fortis Healthcare Promoters Malvinder and his brother Shivinder Singh.

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

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