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Former Fortis promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh bail plea citing covid-19 dismissed

Pritam Pal Singh
Former Fortis promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh, shivinder mohan singh bail plea, covid-19, delhi high court, Religare Finvest Ltd, misappropriation of funds, business news, indian express

Former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh

Former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh's interim bail plea citing the Covid-19 pandemic was dismissed by the Delhi High Court on Tuesday. Singh was arrested in connection with the alleged misappropriation of funds at Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL).

Singh, in his petition, has also urged the High Court to release him as his experience in the health sector and dealing with natural disasters like the Uttarakhand flash floods could be useful in fighting the coronavirus.

Observing that the bench “finds no ground to grant interim bail” to Singh, Justice Mukta Gupta said that a status report has been filed by the jail authorities indicating the steps taken for reducing the over-crowding in the jail in view of the pandemic.

“Be that as it may, petitioner (Singh) in his Cell is in isolation and thus, is maintaining social distancing. Even if he has to use common facilities like rest room and taking food, the distancing can still be maintained besides maintaining hygiene by use of adequate measure including washing hands etc. to which the petitioner does not state that there is any inadequacy.

“The second ground urged by Singh is that in case, interim bail is granted to him, he would be of help to the society in view of his expertise in the Healthcare sector. As noted above,…, Singh has filed writ petition before the Supreme Court wherein, the Supreme Court has directed that the suggestions given by him be considered by the concerned authorities,” it said.

The court further observed that if the concerned authorities find Singh’s suggestions on fighting the virus “feasible and need the co-operation of the petitioner, they would be at liberty to take the same through various means including Video Conferencing as is done in all the cases.”

Malvinder Mohan Singh and his younger brother Shivinder Mohan Singh -- former promoters of pharma company Ranbaxy, hospital chain Fortis and financial services entity Religare Enterprises -- have been arrested by the Economic Offences Wing (EoW) of the Delhi Police for allegedly causing losses to the tune of Rs 2,397 crore to Religare Finvest Ltd, a subsidiary of Religare Enterprises. They are accused in three different cases are in judicial custody since December 2019.

Standing Counsel (Criminal) Rahul Mehra and advocate Chaitanya Gosain, appearing for the Delhi government and jail authorities, argued that as per the guidelines of the High Powered Committee, the petitioner is not entitled to interim bail for de-congesting the prisons as he does not fulfil the three criterias.

“Firstly, the petitioner is facing trial for offences punishable under Section 409 IPC which are punishable up to life imprisonment or ten years imprisonment; secondly, the petitioner is facing trial in more than one case and in all the three cases, he is not on bail and thirdly, the petitioner is facing trial in offences relating to the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,” Mehra said.

Agreeing with the argument, Justice Gupta observed, “… the petitioner is allegedly involved in offence punishable with more than 7 years of sentence and in more than one case and that too under PMLA and hence does not qualify to be released pursuant to directions of the High Powered Committee.”

The Committee, headed by Delhi HC’s Justice Hima Kohli, was constituted on orders of the Supreme Court for laying down criteria for release of convicted and under trial prisoners to prevent over-crowding of prisons and ensure social distancing in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.