The Delhi High Court today allowed custodial interrogation of former Fortis Healthcare promoter Malvinder Singh and another co-accused by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) till tomorrow to confront them with some documents and witnesses in a money laundering case related to alleged misappropriation of funds at Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL).
Besides Malvinder Singh, the court remanded Sunil Godhwani, former Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Religare Enterprises Ltd (REL), to the ED's custody till November 28.
Justice Chander Shekhar set aside the trial court's November 23 order which had refused to extend the ED custody of Malvinder Singh and Sunil Godhwani and had remanded them to judicial custody till December 7.
The probe agency had taken both into custody on November 14 from Tihar jail, where they had been lodged in a case filed by the Delhi Police in relation to the alleged scam.
Malvinder Singh and Sunil Godhwani have been accused of laundering money, punishable under Sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The court directed the jail superintendent to handover the custody of the two accused to the ED. It asked the ED to produce the two accused before the concerned trial court on expiry of their police custody on November 28.
The court also allowed Malvinder Singh and Sunil Godhwani to meet their family members and counsel for half an hour today evening and tomorrow morning while in the ED custody. It allowed them to consume home-cooked food.
RFL is a group firm of REL, which was earlier promoted by Malvinder and his brother Shivinder Singh brothers.
Central government's standing counsel Amit Mahajan and advocate Nitesh Rana, appearing for the ED, submitted that they required further custodial interrogation of Malvinder Singh and Sunil Godhwani to confront them with voluminous documents and several witnesses.
The ED said it had secured their 9-day custody in two spells and can avail a maximum period of 15 days to keep the accused in its custody for interrogation.
"Two directors of some companies have been called for interrogation for next four days so that they can be confronted with these two accused. We need their further custodial interrogation. We have time till November 28," the counsel said.
Mr Mahajan said there are voluminous documents of past 10 years and enormous amount is involved in the fraud and the probe agency is yet to ascertain the entire proceeds of crime.
The ED plea was opposed by senior advocate Ramesh Gupta and lawyer Manu Sharma, appearing for the two accused, contending that the agency was seeking their custody not for interrogation but to extort their confessions.
The ED had sought extension of police custody of both the accused till November 28.
Earlier, they were in judicial custody along with Malvinder Singh's brother Shivinder Singh and two others- Kavi Arora and Anil Saxena- in a case filed by the Economic Offenses Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police.
The ED alleged that both the brothers, along with others, transferred an amount of about Rs 1,000 crore to various persons from entities linked to the corporate loan book and finally, the money was siphoned off.
The agency started its investigation in the matter on the basis of a case lodged by the Delhi Police.
Malvinder Singh, Shivinder Singh, Sunil Godhwani, Kavi Arora, and Anil Saxena were arrested by EOW for allegedly diverting the money and investing in other companies.
The EOW registered a First Information Report (FIR) in March after it received a complaint from RFL's Manpreet Suri against Shivinder Singh, Sunil Godhwani and others, alleging that loans were taken by them while managing the firm but the money was invested in other companies.
"They put RFL in a poor financial condition by disbursing loans to companies with no financial standing and controlled by them. The companies to which the loans were disbursed willfully defaulted in repayments and caused a loss to RFL to the tune of Rs 2,397 crore," the police had alleged.