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HC allows SFIO to interrogate Singh brothers for two weeks starting Jan 1

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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has allowed the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (
SFIO)
to
interrogate former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Mohan
Singh, his brother Malvinder and
two others in connection with an ongoing probe into the affairs of Religare Enterprises Ltd (REL) and Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL).

Justice Vibhu Bakhru allowed the
SFIO
to
interrogate the
Singh
brothers, former CMD of REL Sunil Godhwani and Kavi Arora
for
two
weeks from January
1, 2021 onwards.

All four were arrested by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police last year,
for allegedly diverting RFL’s money and investing in other companies.

However, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) had directed
SFIO
to investigate affairs of REL in 2018 and thereafter, in February this year it was also asked
to probe into the affairs of RFL, the agency had said in its plea.

The
SFIO had moved the high court against a September 22 order of the trial court denying it permission
to examine the four who are presently in judicial custody.

The trial court had denied the permission saying the agency was allowed
to examine them earlier and that was sufficient.

The high court disagreed with the trial court decision saying “if
SFIO requires
to examine the respondents (
Singh
brothers and others) and
interrogate them in respect of certain facts that have emerged during the course of investigation, the petitioner (
SFIO), as an investigating agency, must be granted full access
to the respondents
to do so”.

The counsel
for Shivinder said his client has no objection
to being examined by the
SFIO officials, but due
to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic the number of officials examining them be limited
to bare minimum.

The court said the apprehension expressed by Shivinder was understandable and directed the
SFIO
to ensure that the officials in its team deputed
to
interrogate the respondents do not exceed three in number.

“It is also clarified that in the event there is any hearing fixed before the court, the concerned officials of the petitioner shall ensure that respondents are not impeded or prevented from joining those proceedings,” the high court said and disposed of
SFIO‘s plea.

The EOW registered an FIR in March last year after it received a complaint from RFL’s Manpreet Suri against Shivinder, Godhwani and others, alleging that loans were taken by them while managing the firm but the money was invested in other companies.

The Enforcement Directorate lodged a money laundering case based on this.

RFL is a group firm of REL, which was earlier promoted by Malvinder and his brother Shivinder. PTI HMP

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