By LE Desk

New Delhi, May 4: A court here has rejected the interim bail plea filed by former Fortis Healthcare promoter Malvinder Mohan Singh in a money laundering case.

The accused had expressed apprehension that he may contract COVID-19 infection in the Tihar jail.

Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Yadav declined the plea of Singh, who is in jail in a case related to alleged misappropriation of funds at Religare Finvest Limited (RFL), news agency PTI reported.

He approached the court praying to be released on an interim bail for two months, on the ground he was down with high fever from April 25 with severe body ache.

The accused submitted that since several persons had tested positive for COVID-19 at jail number 8-9 in Tihar, where he was lodged, the possibility of him catching with Covid-19 was very huge as he was 49-years-old and suffering from high blood sugar ailments which had significantly reduced his immunity.

Singh sought interim bail to go to a hospital or a clinic where he could get himself examined for his ailments. He further submitted that there was a history of heart attack in the accused’s family and therefore, a serious risk existed to his health and life in the current situation due to COVID-19 second wave.

However, the judge dismissed his application and referred to the April 29 report furnished by the jail authority which stated that all the health condition of the inmate was stable and that all prescribed medication were being provided to him from the jail dispensary itself.

The perusal of the report furnished by the jail authority would show that applicant is not suffering from any ailment for which he could not be treated in the Tihar Jail, the judge said in the April 30 order and added that the accused was getting all the necessary treatment in the jail.

The judge said, If the petitioner is apprehending Covid infection, necessary directions can be given to the jail authority. However, that does not make out a case for grant of interim bail, PTI reported.

The court directed the Tihar Jail Superintendent to get the accused examined to find out as to whether he was COVID-19 positive and if he was found to be Covid positive, he would be treated in a hospital in custody.

In August 2020, the regular bail application of the accused was dismissed by the court. He has filed a regular bail application before Delhi High Court of Delhi, which is pending.

During the course of hearing, Senior Advocate Saurabh Kirpal, representing Singh, apprised the court that no report was given regarding the high fever, hypertension and other ailments by the jail authority.

Seeking interim bail, the Senior Advocate further told the court that the situation in Tihar Jail was very serious and inmates were getting covid positive in large numbers.

He suffers from comorbidity and there is apprehension that he may get covid infection in jail as Tihar inmates are prone to covid infection, he said.

Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana, appearing for the ED, opposed the application and submitted that if the arguments of Singh’s lawyer were to be accepted then all the jail inmates should be released on interim bail.

He further said that the jail authorities had taken sufficient precautions to prevent the covid spread and that Singh’s application was based on presumption and apprehension and not on actual facts.

The charge sheet filed in the case stated that investigation had revealed the role of Malvinder, his brother and co-accused Shivinder and former CMD of REL Sunil Godhwani in sanctioning and disbursements of Corporate Loan Book (CLB) loans which were given without adequate documentation, risk assessment and due diligence.

Investigation further concluded that co-accused Godhwani being chairman and Managing Director of REL in connivance with promoters Malvinder and Shivinder entered into conspiracy for acquisition and utilization of proceeds of crime generated out of criminal activities and its projection as untainted property, the charge sheet stated.

RFL is a group firm of REL – Religare Enterprises Ltd, which was earlier promoted by Malvinder and his brother Shivinder.

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. ED lodged a money laundering case based on this.

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