Fortis ex-promoter’s challenge to Covid period bail norms rejected

New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) A high-powered committee, set up for decongestion of prisons in order to control the Covid-19 spread, has rejected former Fortis promoter and Religare scam case accused Malvinder Mohan Singh's representation challenging its criteria for grant of interim bail to under-trial prisoners.

Rejecting his representation, the committee held that the Supreme Court, while passing orders on the forming of this committee, gave it a absolute discretion to determine which class/category of prisoners can be released on interim bail or parole.

“…the High Powered Committee so constituted was given an absolute discretion to determine which class/category of the prisoners can be released on interim bail or parole depending not only upon the severity of the offence, but also the nature of offence or any other relevant factor,” the order read.

Thus, no prisoner in whatsoever category/class he falls and whatever nature of offence he is facing trial, can seek or claim to be released from prison as a matter of right, the committee held.

“In view thereof, this Committee is of the opinion that the representation is unmerited and the same is accordingly rejected,” it held, while adding Malvinder Singh was at liberty to file a bail application before courts concerned, which shall consider the same on merits in accordance with the law.

The former Fortis Healthcare promoter approached the High Power Committee after his plea for interim bail was denied by the high court. The court, however, gave him liberty to approach the committee if he was aggrieved by the criteria laid down by it.

Singh was arrested in a case relating to the misappropriation of funds from the Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL). FIRs have also been registered against him for the offences of cheating and money laundering.

Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL) had filed a complaint against certain individuals who were directors on the Lakshmi Vilas Bank board and certain employees involved in the transactions along with individuals who were directors and officials of the Shivinder and Malvinder Mohan Singh-owned RHC Holdings and Ranchem for alleged breach of trust, cheating and misappropriation of funds.

Both Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh earlier owned Religare Enterprises, the parent company of Religare Finvest Ltd.

The EOW filed registered a on September 23, 2019, and the EoW filed the charg esheet before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Saket District Court, on March 23 this year.

Religare Finvest filed an FIR with the EoW last year, alleging that Lakshmi Vilas Bank had liquidated four fixed deposits amounting to Rs 791 crore, out of which Rs 750 crore was the principal amount, to adjust for loans which were given to RHC Holdings and its subsidiary, Ranchem, owned by the Singh brothers.

These FDs were created by RFL for short-term tenor with the intention of keeping them free from any encumbrance. No documentation was executed by RFL for creation of security and no communication was ever sent to LVB that the FDs were to act as security for any loans taken by RFL or any other company owned and/or controlled by it.



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