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The Delhi High Court today set aside an order by Special CBI Court which had sent former Religare promoter Malvinder Singh and former CMD Sunil Godhwani to judicial custody in relation to the Religare Finvest money laundering case.
Allowing Enforcement Directorate’s plea seeking their custody, the Court today remanded Malvinder and Godhwani to the Agency’s custody till November 28.
The order was pronounced by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Chander Shekhar.
The Enforcement Directorate’s money laundering case against the two arises out of an FIR registered by the Economic Offences Wing on a complaint by Religare Finvest.
Manpreet Suri of Religare Finvest had accused Malvinder Singh, his brother Shivinder Singh, Godhwani and others of siphoning off funds and misappropriation of funds to the tune of over Rs 2,000 crore.
While all the accused in the Delhi Police case were in judicial custody, the Enforcement Directorate arrested Malvinder and Godhwani on November 14.
The Court of Special CBI Judge Sandeep Yadav had extended their custody with the Enforcement Directorate twice on November 15 and November 18, for three days and five days respectively.
However, on November 23, the CBI Court rejected the ED’s plea for extension of custody and remanded the two to judicial custody till December 7.
Seeking a direction to set aside the order, the ED had argued that in terms of Section 167 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), the agency was entitled to 15 days’ custody of the accused persons.
It was argued that although there was no change in circumstances, the CBI judge wrongly remanded the accused to judicial custody.
Acknowledging that the investigation could be carried out in judicial custody as well, the ED had submitted that there were “practical difficulties” in the present case, as it involved voluminous documents from the last 10 years that needed to be placed before the accused persons.
The ED also stated that it had already summoned two witnesses who were to be confronted with the accused.
Malvinder and Godhwani defended the CBI Court’s order on the ground that judicial remand was justified in view of the absence of any reason for an extension of ED custody in the remand application.
It was added that although interrogation of the Agency’s right, the extension of custody of accused with the Investigating Agency could not be as per its liking.
Malvinder and Godhwani were represented by Senior Advocate Ramesh Gupta and Advocate Manu Sharma.
Enforcement Directorate was represented by ASG Maninder Acharya, Standing Counsel Amit Mahajan, and Advocate Nitesh Rana.