The Delhi High Court Monday asked the Enforcement Directorate to respond to former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh's plea seeking bail in a money laundering case related to alleged misappropriation of funds at Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL).
Justice Anup J Bhambhani, who conducted the hearing through video conferencing, issued notice to the ED on the bail plea and asked it to file a status report. The court listed the matter for further hearing on July 2.
Shivinder approached the high court after a trial court on June 18 dismissed his bail plea on the ground that the accused has utilised the proceeds of crime and that various acts attributed to him regarding the advancement of unsecured loans to different entities have also come to the light during the investigation.
The trial court had observed that the amount involved in this case is a huge Rs 2,397 crore. During the hearing in the high court, Shivinder's counsel submitted that since the ED has filed its prosecution complaint/charge sheet in the case, no purpose would be achieved by the continued incarceration of his client.
He contended that all the evidence in the case was documentary in nature and there were no allegations of evidence tampering against him. The counsel told the court that co-accused Anil Saxena, who was arrested in the Delhi Police's EOW case, was recently granted bail by the high court.
Central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, representing the ED, opposed the bail plea saying that in the present case, money was diverted through a complex web of transactions and finding the trail was not easy.
Mahajan argued that releasing Shivinder on bail would hamper further investigation and recently, the trial court had refused to grant him bail after passing a very detailed order.
He was arrested in this case for the alleged offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) last year.
The ED in January had filed a charge sheet against former Fortis Healthcare promoters Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder as also former CMD of Religare Enterprises Limited (REL) Sunil Godhwani in the money laundering case related to alleged misappropriation of funds at RFL.
The ED had told the trial court that there was enough evidence to initiate proceedings against the three accused under the PMLA. The accused are undergoing judicial custody in the case.
The trial court had noted as per ED reply, Shivinder Singh misused the facility of provision of home-cooked food and to meet his family members for half an hour a day. It had noted that he managed to get a mobile phone inside the jail premises.
The court had noted that he used that mobile phone to talk and chat with his known persons and associates in the washroom.
"When the accused can indulge in such nefarious activities while being in custody, it will be reasonable to conclude that the accused, if released on bail, will try to tamper with evidence and influence the witnesses," the court has said in its order.
RFL is a group firm of REL - Religare Enterprises Ltd, which was earlier promoted by Malvinder Singh and his brother Shivinder Singh.
The EOW registered an FIR in March last year after it received a complaint from RFL's Manpreet Suri against Shivinder, Godhwani and others, alleging that loans were taken by them while managing the firm but the money was invested in other companies. ED lodged a money laundering case based on this.