Delhi High Court
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Delhi HC grants bail to Religare Group CFO Anil Saxena in Religare Finvest case

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court has granted bail to one of the accused in the Religare FinVest case, Anil Saxena who worked as the Chief Finance Officer of the Religare Group. (Anil Saxena vs State)

Bail was granted by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru.

The case pertains to Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL)'s complaint against Religare Enterprises Ltd (REL) promoters Malvinder Singh, his brother Shivinder Singh, CMD Godhwani and several others for siphoning off and misappropriating funds to the tune of over Rs 2,000 crore.

As per the prosecution's case, at the material time, Saxena was a part of the management of REL and RFL, including being part of Committees which approved loans, and conspired with the promoters i.e Singh brothers to fraudulently siphon off funds to various shell companies.

Saxena contended that he was not in the day-to-day control and management of Religare FinVest and took decisions with respect to sanctioning loans as part of a Committee and not alone.

It was explained that out of the nineteen questionable loans, Saxena stated that he was involved in approving only six, three of which were approved by another Committee.

The other three loans were stipulated to be secured by immovable property, it was said.

To substantiate his stand, Saxena relied upon a report submitted by law firm AZB & Partners, which forms part of the charge sheet.

Inter alia, it was also stated that there was no allegation that Saxena received any benefit from the alleged fraudulent approval of loans.

The Complainant, RFL and Delhi Police asserted that Saxena signed the financial statements and Annual Reports of RFL certifying that the loans were not NPAs, in spite of knowing that the same was false.

He also misrepresented that the transactions were not related party transactions, even though he was aware that the loans had been diverted to entities controlled by the Promoters, it was added.

After considering the submissions made by the parties and contents of the charge shee, the Court observed that it prima facie appeared that Saxena might have supervised certain executive functions relating to RFL but he was not in control of its day to day management.

"The extent of the involvement of the petitioner in the affairs of RFL is a matter of trial and it is not necessary to examine the same in any great detail at this stage.", the court said.

The Court also noted that although serious allegations of conspiracy had been made, prima facie, there appeared no material which would establish that Saxena derived any monetary benefit from the Promoters other than what had been disclosed in the annual accounts of the companies.

The Court further observed that prima facie, it did appear that Saxena was employed by virtue of his professional qualifications and that there was little material to establish that the remuneration paid to him was not commensurate with his position in REL.

..the alleged role of the petitioner (Saxena) in the alleged offence cannot be equated to that of the Promoters who are also alleged to be the beneficiaries of the funds allegedly siphoned from RFL.
Delhi High Court said.

Noting that the evidence in the case was documentary in nature and Saxena had been in custody for over eight months, the Court considered it apposite to release Saxena on bail.

The Court dismissed apprehensions of tampering with the relevant evidence as it stated that Saxena had left the employment of the REL almost three years ago and had also resigned as a director of RFL.

It also opined that Saxena was not a flight risk.

Accordingly, bail was granted on a personal bond in the sum of Rs 25,000 to the satisfaction of the Trial Court/Duty Magistrate with one surety of the like amount.

Bail is also conditional on Saxena not leaving the National Capital Territory of Delhi without prior permission of the Trial Court and not contacting any of the employees of REL, RFL or any of the Religare group of companies.

He has also been asked to provide a contact number to the SHO of the concerned Police Station and ensure his attendance at all hearings/proceedings.

Advocates Abhimanyu Bhandari, Neeraj Chaudhary, Nattasha Garg, Arav Pandit, Yatin Savlani appeared for Saxena.

APP Radhika Kolluru appeared for State.

Senior Advocate Mohit Mathur with Advocates Sandeep Das, Anurag Misha, Surbhi Sharma for RFL.

Read the order:

Anil Saxena DHC order (17 June 2020).pdf
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