RFL was represented by Advocate Sandeep Das in the Delhi High Court.
Both Shivinder and his elder brother Malvinder Mohan Singh, erstwhile promoters of Religare Enterprises were arrested by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police last December in a case related to alleged misappropriation of funds at Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL, which was an arm of Religare Enterprises.
Allegations against Malvinder and Shivinder Mohan Singh are that they had connived with the employees of Lakshmi Vilas Bank and misappropriated two FDs of Rs 400 crore and Rs 350 crore made with the Lakshmi Vilas Bank by the complainant company.
Allegations against the duo are that they misappropriated the amount by availing loan from the bank against these FDs in RHC Holdings Pvt Ltd and Ranchem, companies which they owned. The EOW further alleged that Malvinder and Shivinder systematically siphoned off and diverted public money in a clandestine manner for their own benefit.
RFL is a group firm of REL, which was earlier promoted by the Singh brothers. According to the ED, both the accused, along with Sunil Godhwani and two others had transferred an amount of approximately Rs 1,000 crore to various persons from entities linked to the corporate loan book and finally, the money was siphoned off.
Both Malvinder and Shivinder have strongly denied the allegations levelled against them.
In a scathing judgment last week, a local Saket Court had slammed the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), Delhi Police for “discriminatory approach in the investigation”. The Court had pulled up the EOW for adopting a “pick and choose policy” in arresting the accused involved in the case.
Granting bail to Shivinder, the Court had expressed shock over non arrest of any bank official by the EOW.
“Surprisingly, none of the officials of LVB (Lakshmi Vilas Bank) who was involved in the decision making process at the relevant time have been arrested for the reasons best known to the IO. The explanation offered by the IO for not arresting the officials of LVB that no evidence has surfaced indicating that bank officials were illegally benefited failed to convince the court”.
The judgment read “this only shows that investigation was not conducted in a proper manner. In the absence of any evidence of pecuniary gain to LVB, how will the prosecution substantiate the allegation of conspiracy. Leave alone the bank officials, even other persons arrayed as accused in the chargesheet viz. Sunil Godhwani and Hemant Dhingra have not been arrested. It is a settled law that an investigating agency cannot adopt a pick and choose policy in the matter of arrest”.
It added “such discriminatory approach in the investigation exposes the investigation to the allegation of taint and bias”.
Granting bail to Shivinder, the Court held that the entire evidence is documentary in nature which has already been seized. Therefore, there is no apprehension that the accused if released on bail will tamper with evidence.
The EOW registered a FIR in March after it received a complaint from 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.