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