HC re­serves ver­dict on plea of For­tis’ Malvin­der to quash FIR

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

New Delhi: Less than 24 hours since his ar­rest, former For­tis pro­moter Malvin­der Singh got a hear­ing in Delhi high court where he sought quash­ing of the FIR lodged against him in the case of al­leged mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of funds.

The high court, af­ter hear­ing ar­gu­ments on be­half of Singh, Eco­nomic Of­fences Wing of Delhi Po­lice and the com­plainant — Religare Fin­vest Ltd. — re­served its or­der on the point of is­su­ing no­tice to the po­lice.

RFL has ac­cused Singh of mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of funds, caus­ing it losses to the tune of Rs 2,397 crore.

Jus­tice Bri­jesh Sethi wrapped up hear­ings af­ter Singh’s plea con­tended that only the Se­ri­ous Fraud In­ves­ti­ga­tion Of­fice (SFIO), which comes un­der the Union min­istry of cor­po­rate af­fairs, could have in­ves­ti­gated the al­le­ga­tions of fraud and cheat­ing against him.

Rep­re­sented by se­nior ad­vo­cate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Singh urged the court to is­sue no­tice in the mat­ter and also stay pro­ceed­ings ini­ti­ated by the po­lice, which was op­posed by EOW and RFL.

Singhvi sub­mit­ted that since the SFIO is al­ready in­ves­ti­gat­ing the is­sue of al­leged di­ver­sion of funds on a com­plaint by RFL, EOW “could not have jumped the gun.”

He in­formed HC that the SFIO had ini­ti­ated in­ves­ti­ga­tion on Fe­bru­ary 17, 2018, on the direction of the min­istry and the cops have no role.

EOW, how­ever, op­posed the claim and clar­i­fied that the SFIO only has the man­date to in­ves­ti­gate For­tis Health­care and a fresh no­ti­fi­ca­tion would have to be is­sued by the Cen­tre to al­low it to probe Religare En­ter­prises.

The con­tention was sup­ported by SFIO, rep­re­sented by Ad­di­tional So­lic­i­tor Gen­eral Manin­der Acharya, which said that presently it has not been di­rected by the gov­ern­ment to in­ves­ti­gate RFL and it can­not probe the com­pany with­out prior ap­proval. Ap­pear­ing for RFL, se­nior ad­vo­cate Jankalyan Das sup­ported the stand of po­lice.

EOW also told the court that ac­cord­ing to a foren­sic report from RBI, it has been found that Rs1,260 crore was di­verted from RFL adding that an ac­cused can­not choose which agency would in­ves­ti­gate it and that even if SFIO was in­ves­ti­gat­ing them un­der Com­pa­nies Act, it can­not save them from be­ing pros­e­cuted. But Singhvi pointed out it is not his client who is choos­ing the in­ves­ti­gat­ing agency as the leg­is­la­ture and the statute — Com­pa­nies Act — has al­ready pre­scribed that SFIO is com­pe­tent to probe such cases.

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