Shivinder Singh, Delhi High Court
Shivinder Singh, Delhi High Court
Litigation News

Delhi HC grants bail to Shivinder Singh in Religare Finvest money laundering case on personal bond of Rs 1 crore

The bail is subject to Shivinder furnishing a personal bond of Rs one crore and two sureties of Rs 25 lakh each.

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court today granted regular bail to Religare promoter, Shivinder Mohan Singh in Religare Finvest money laundering case. (Shivinder Mohan Singh vs Directorate of Enforcement)

The bail is subject to Shivinder furnishing a personal bond of Rs one crore and two sureties of Rs 25 lakh each.

A single-judge Bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani pronounced the order after it was reserved earlier this month.

Shivinder Singh has been directed to not contact or engage with any of the officials of the financial institutions or banks that are involved in the case.

The Court also directed Enforcement Directorate to initiate the proceedings for opening a look-out circular against Shivinder.

The other conditions imposed on Shivinder Singh include not leaving the country without the permission of the court, surrendering his passport, not tampering with evidence, not leaving his ordinary place of residence etc.

The Enforcement Directorate’s money laundering case against Shivinder Singh, his brother Malvinder Singh and others arises out of an FIR registered by the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police on a complaint by Religare Finvest (RFL).

Religare Finvest had accused the two brothers of siphoning off funds and diverting loans extended by RFL.

Shivinder Singh was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on December 12, 2019 and was remanded to 14 days' custody. Thereafter, he was sent to judicial custody.

Seeking his release, counsel for Shivinder Singh had argued that since the ED has filed its prosecution complaint/chargesheet in the case, no purpose would be achieved by the continued incarceration of his client.

It was submitted that given the documentary nature of evidence and absence of allegations of evidence tampering, Shivinder satisfied the triple test for grant of bail.

Arguing that bail was rule and jail an exception, counsel pointed that one of the accused in the Delhi Police case i.e. Anil Saxena was recently released in bail by the High Court.

Opposing the bail, ED had argued that in the present case, money was diverted through a complex web of transactions and finding the trail was not easy.

It was stated that investigation in the case was ongoing and releasing Shivinder on bail might interfere with the process.

The Court was informed that out of over Rs 2,000 crore of allegedly laundered money, the investigation was complete qua only Rs 450 crore.

ED also sought to distinguish the case from that of Anil Saxena, who was granted bail by the High Court. It was explained that while Saxena was an accused in the predicate offence and was merely an employee, Shivinder was the promoter and the beneficiary of the entire crime.

Refusing to uphold the ED's contention that bail should not be granted to Shivinder on account of the on-going investigation, the Court held that it could not "warp the entire concept of pre-trial imprisonment and bail".

Stating that sanctity must be attached to filing of the chargesheet by the investigating agency, the Court remarked,

Nowhere is it the law that an accused, yet to be tried, is to be kept in custody only on a hunch or a presumption that he will prejudice or impede trial; or to send any message to the society. If anything, the only message that goes-out to the society by keeping an accused in prison before finding him guilty, is that our system works only on impressions and conjectures and can keep an accused in custody even on presumption of guilt. While in certain cases such message may even quench the thirst for revenge of the lay society against a person they believe to be guilty, such action would certainly not leave our criminal justice system awash in glory.
Delhi High Court

The Court highlighted that as on December 31, 2019, the proportion of undertrials to convicts in Delhi prisons was about 82 percent to 18 per cent and observed,

"These numbers are telling. Prison is a place for punishment ; and no punishment can be legitimate without a trial. There must be compelling basis, grounds and reasons to detain an undertrial in judicial custody, which this court does not discern in the present case."

In view of the above and the factual matrix of the case, the Court concluded that there was no rationale for continuing the Shivinder Singh’s judicial custody as an undertrial.

Shivinder Singh is yet to get bail in the Delhi Police case.

Senior Advocate N Hariharan with Advocates Tanveer Ahmed, Mahesh Aggarwal, Shri Singh, Abhishek Singh, Nirvikar Singh, Shally Bhasin, Maneka Khanna appeared for Shivinder.

Standing Counsel Amit Mahajan with SPP Nitesh Rana and Advocate Mallika Hiremath appeared for ED.

Read the Judgement:

Shivinder Singh vs ED - bail order.pdf
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