ED files two fresh cases against Singh brothers
A Delhi court was apprised about the fresh developments last week by the ED, which opposed the bail plea of Shivinder Mohan Singh.Updated: Jun 29, 2020 02:47 IST
The Enforcement Directorate recently attached properties worth ~300 crore belonging to Fortis Healthcare founders Shivinder Mohan Singh and Malvinder Mohan Singh and registered two fresh money laundering cases against the brothers, people familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity.
A Delhi court was apprised about the fresh developments last week by the ED, which opposed the bail plea of Shivinder Mohan Singh.
Officials refused to disclose details of the new cases, registered during the Covid-19 lockdown, against the Singh brothers, but said that there had been several complaints against the promoters of Religare Enterprises, a financial services group, in various police departments.
Delhi police had in April filed a charge-sheet against the brothers for an alleged fraud of ~791 crore in Lakshmi Vilas Bank. To go ahead with money laundering probes against any suspect, ED usually needs a scheduled offence registered through a first information report (FIR) by the local police or any other agency.
The attachment of properties worth Rs 300 crore, the first in the case, includes shares and some properties, the officials cited above added.
The agency has already filed a charge sheet against the Singh brothers in its principal case in which funds running into thousands of crore of rupees borrowed from banks were diverted by them from Religare Finvest Ltd.
According to the ED’s charge sheet, filed in January, ~2,036 crore worth “proceeds of crimes” was moved to 19 companies linked to the Singh brothers over a period of eight years. In its principal FIR, registered last year, ED is probing alleged loan fraud worth ~47,968 crore.
While opposing Shivinder Mohan Singh’s bail plea last week, ED’s special public prosecutor Nitesh Rana informed the court of additional sessions judge Sandeep Yadav at Saket that the accused failed the “triple test” or “tripod test” criteria fixed by the Supreme Court while granting bail in such cases.
Rana argued that if given bail, Shivinder Mohan Singh can “hamper the investigation of the case; he will try to liquidate the proceeds of crime and destroy the money trail; apart from continuing to be involved in the commission of the offence of money laundering.”
The judge agreed with the ED counsel, saying that “triple test has failed in the present case” and that there are two fresh cases against the accused which need to be investigated. Shivinder Mohan Singh’s bail plea is pending in Delhi high court.
Under “the triple test” criteria, an accused can be granted bail if it can be established that he or she is not a flight risk, will not influence witnesses and will not tamper with the evidence. The SC had given bail to former finance minister P Chidambaram in December 2019 on the basis of these criteria.
“ED’s investigations are mostly flimsy and they have no basis. They have no evidence whatsoever,” Shivinder Mohan Singh’s lawyer Tanveer Ahmed Mir said. Asked about the two fresh cases, Malvinder Mohan Singh’s lawyer Manu Sharma said:“We have never been summoned or called for interrogation in the fresh cases. We are completely in dark about this.”