Religare case: HC stays trial court direction to REL ex-CMD to surrender in two days

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New Delhi, Dec 5 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Saturday put on hold a trial court order directing former Religare Enterprises Ltd (REL) CMD Sunil Godhwani, who was on interim bail since September 25, to surrender before Tihar Jail authorities within two days from December 4 in a money laundering case related to alleged misappropriation of funds at Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL).

Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri stayed the trial court's December 4 order which had also said that if Godhwani fails to surrender, then the investigating officer should arrest him and hand him over to the Tihar Jail Superintendent concerned.

The high court's order came on the appeal of the former REL CMD against the trial court's order.

The high court also issued notice to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and sought its stand on the appeal by December 17, the next date of hearing.

'Till then, the impugned order dated December 4, 2020 shall remain stayed,' it said.

Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, appearing for the appellant, told the high court that his client was initially granted interim bail on September 25 and it was subsequently extended on various dates on account of orders passed by a full bench of the high court.

The trial court order had come on a plea by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking issuance of arrest warrants against Godhwani and a direction for his surrender as he failed to do so on the given date, which was November 12.

According to the ED application in the trial court, Godhwani was granted interim bail for three weeks in September on account of his father-in-law's death. The interim bail was extended for 10 days on October 15 and Godhwani was to surrender before the jail authorities on October 26.

Godhwani filed an application on the strength of the Delhi High Court's order passed on October 20, which stated that all undertrials whose interim bail period was extended during the COVID-19 lockdown have to surrender in a phased manner between November 2 and November 13, the ED application said.

It also said the trial court had on October 29 directed the accused to surrender on November 12 but he failed to do so on the specific date.

Former Fortis Healthcare promoters Malvinder Singh, his brother Shivinder Singh, Godhwani and others were arrested in a case by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police last year, for allegedly diverting Religare Finvest Ltd's money and investing in other companies.

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 ED lodged a money laundering case based on this FIR.

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