The Supreme Court today orally observed that it does not want to comment on “the way in which government is showing interest and there should be fairness” in a case in which former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh is accused of misappropriating Rs 2,397 crore of Religare Finvest Ltd funds, while deferring the hearing on his bail plea to post Diwali vacation.
A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana, initially, indicated to the parties including the counsel for Shivinder Singh that it would like to remand the case back to the Delhi High Court for fresh re-adjudication, without being influenced by past observations and remarks made earlier.
“You go before the Delhi High Court. We will direct the High Court to decide your case in a time-bound manner. Let the High Court decide this without being influenced by the observations made earlier… Now again (Delhi police) want four months (to conclude the probe). God knows what they want to do…,” observed the bench which also comprised Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli.
The observation came when senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Shivinder Singh, referred to the records to allege that Delhi Police had on February 9, 2021 said that the probe with respect to Shivinder Singh concluded, and now they wanted four more months to investigate further.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Delhi Police, opposed the matter being taken up as a fresh plea in High Court again and said he wanted to dispel the wrong impression created by the accused and referred to the enormity of the scam saying the amount involved is over Rs 1,500 crore.
The bench said that it was not bothered about the amount concerned in the case and wanted the high court to deal the plea afresh.
“I do not want to make comments but the government (police) is taking much interest,” the CJI said, adding that now the bench would hear the case after Diwali vacation.
In May, the Delhi High Court cancelled Shivinder Singh’s bail, noting that his detention was necessary to unearth the “conspiracy hatched by him” and trace the alleged siphoned off money.
Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) recently gave the time line and said that it would need four more months to complete the probe in the fund embezzlement case.
“How much time should it take to complete the investigation? It cannot be an unending story,” the bench had observed while asking the police to give a timeline for concluding the probe.
The counsel for Shivinder Singh had said that he has been in jail for the last two years and moreover, his custody is not needed for the investigation as two charge sheets have already been filed.
The Delhi Police have said it needs four more months to conclude the investigation if unforeseen circumstances do not hit the ongoing probe, the bench said after perusing the report of the police.
The high court’s order, cancelling the bail, was passed on a plea by Religare challenging the March 3 order of the trial court granting bail to Shivinder Singh in the case registered against him by the EOW under charges of cheating, criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.
Shivinder Singh has moved the top court against the Delhi High Court cancelling the bail granted to him by the trial court in the case.
The EOW registered an FIR in March 2019 after it received a complaint from RFL’s Manpreet Suri against Shivinder, former CMD of Religare Enterprises Limited (REL) Sunil Godhwani and former CEO of RFL Kavi Arora and others, alleging that loans were taken by them while managing the firm but the money was invested in other companies.
According to the prosecution, RFL’s authorised representative Manpreet Suri alleged that these accused put RFL in poor financial condition by disbursing loans to entities having no financial standings and willfully defaulted in repayments thereby caused wrongful loss to RFL to the tune of Rs 2,397 crore.