Delhi HC quashes bail to former Fortis chief

Lower court had granted relief in financial misappropriation case

The Delhi High Court on Monday quashed a local court order granting bail to former promoter of Fortis Healthcare Shivinder Mohan Singh in a case of allegedly misappropriating funds of Religare Finvest Ltd. (RFL).

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait noted that “continued detention of respondent No.2 (Mr Singh) in this FIR case is necessary not only to unearth the conspiracy hatched by him, but also to derive out/ trace the siphoned money which he has credited for his personal benefit”.

The High Court said the “nature and gravity” of accusation against Mr. Singh was serious.

“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,” it said.

On the argument of Mr Singh that other co-accused have been granted bail in this case, the court observed, “while granting or refusing bail, the role attributed to each accused has to be seen independently and reasoning for one may not be binding on the other”.

RFL operates as a small and medium enterprise (SME) financing focused Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) and is in the business of extending SME working capital loans, secure SME business expansion, loans, short term trade finance and other loans to various entities

RFL is a subsidiary of Religare Enterprises Limited (REL), which is a public company, listed on stock exchanges.

The High Court noted that allegations against Mr. Singh pertain to a “serious economic offence of high magnitude”, where large amount of approximately ₹2,400 crore including interest has been siphoned off at his behest and of his brother Malvinder Mohan Singh by diverting it through various financial transactions, by granting loan to the shell companies, of whom they were the Directors or Promoters or beneficiary in interest.

There are allegations that Mr. Singh 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.

Mr Singh’s plea that he had taken retirement from active life and was in Radha Swami Satsang, Beas was countered by the prosecution which claimed that Board Minutes and various emails reveal his active participation in the affairs of the company.

“In my considered opinion the court below had no ground to grant bail to the respondent No.2 (Mr Singh) vide its impugned order dated March 03,2021,” the High Court said, quashing the local court order granting him bail.

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