A day after they were arrested for alleged diversion of funds and causing a loss of Rs 2,397 crore to Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL), brothers Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh, former promoters of Religare Enterprises Ltd, were remanded in four-day police custody Friday.
Before they were led away with three others arrested with them, Malvinder’s counsel Manu Sharma told a Delhi court that his client did not have a “single penny” and that investigators were not arresting a “a person to whose doorstep the money leads as he is heading a great religious organisation”.
“This gentleman runs an entity called Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB) trust. He’s a very powerful man and has high political relevance,” Sharma told the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat at the Saket courts complex in south Delhi.
At one stage, the Singh brothers were followers of the RSSB.
He said the FIR against Malvinder is an offshoot of a September 27 order of the Delhi High Court which ordered 55 entities and individuals, including RSSB chief Gurinder Singh Dhillon, his family members and various companies owned by them or by RSSB associates, to pay dues of over Rs 3,000 to the Singh brothers.
“\After this (High Court) order was reported two days back, my client was detained on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday and arrested before his wife and daughter, who is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Ludhiana,” Sharma told the court.
Besides Malvinder and Shivinder, the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police Thursday arrested Sunil Godhwani, former chairman and managing director of Religare Enterprises Ltd (REL), Kavi Arora and Anil Saxena who held “important managerial positions in REL and RFL” for alleged diversion of public money “in clandestine manner for their own benefit.
Noting that “the offence is of very serious nature involving huge amount of siphoning of money”, CMM Sherawat ordered their police custody since it is “necessary to trace the trail of the cheated amount and find out the role of other persons who might have participated in conspiracy, and confrontation with other officials of RFL and REL”. He directed that the accused be produced in court again on October 15.
The court granted four-day police custody though the EOW had sought six days, saying they also needed to ascertain the role of co-conspirators.
Godhwani and Saxena did not oppose the police remand while Shivinder told the court that he himself was a victim of the fraud and would cooperate with the investigation in every possible manner.
Malvinder’s lawyer Sharma told the court that he had given an affidavit in the High Court saying the money was not with him. Maintaining that his client had been cooperating, he said: “I am a defenceless and a penniless man. The agency should arrest the RSSB chief who has not even been touched.”
Meanwhile, the RSSB chief and his family members moved the High Court Friday, saying they do not owe any money to RHC Holdings Pvt Ltd, promoted by Malvinder and Shivinder.
They filed the application following the High Court direction to deposit the amount owed to RHC Holdings Pvt Ltd in connection with the execution of the Rs 3,500-crore arbitral award to Japanese pharma major Daiichi Sankyo against Malvinder and Shivinder, former promoters of Ranbaxy Laboratories.
In their application, the Dhillons told the High Court that RHC Holding had made a false claim that they owe money to the company.
Following this, Justice J R Midha sought the response of RHC Holding, the Singh brothers and Daiichi.
The High Court also reserved its order on whether to issue notice to the police on Malvinder’s plea seeking quashing of the FIR against him by the EOW.
In the court of the CMM, the EOW said allegations have been levelled by Manpreet Singh Suri of RFL against Malvinder, Shivinder, Sunil and others.
“\The alleged persons, having absolute control on Religare Enterprises Ltd and its subsidiaries, put RFL in poor financial condition by way of disbursing loans to companies having no financial standing and controlled by the alleged persons,” it said. “\These companies wilfully defaulted on repayments and caused wrongful loss to RFL to the tune of Rs 2397 crore,” the EOW said.