Religare fraud: Delhi HC denies anticipatory bail to Francis Daniel Lee

Religare fraud: Delhi HC denies anticipatory bail to Francis Daniel Lee

The Delhi High Court denied anticipatory bail to Francis Daniel Lee.

Background 

Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder Mohan Singh, promoters of Complainant Companies – Religare Enterprises Limited (REL) and Religare Finvest Limited (RFL), held an all-pervasive control over REL and its subsidiaries, and that they held this control until 14 February 2018 when they resigned as Non-Executive Chairman and Non-Executive ViceChairman of the Board of Directors of REL, respectively. A corporate fraud was discovered when the Board of Directors at REL was reconstituted after the decline of promoters’ shareholding in REL and the exit of Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder Mohan Singh, and they found REL and its subsidiaries to be in a terrible financial condition, and that there was widespread illegal siphoning off of funds from  REL and RFL. 

Arguments

Advocate Prakash Sinha, appearing for the Petitioner, contended that both the FIRs stem does not name the Petitioner. He stated that when the Petitioner’s relationship with REL was terminated, he had been staying at his hometown Ranchi with his family and, therefore, had done no work after 15.12.2017. 

He argued that the Petitioner had been inducted into the Board of REL as a representative of M/s Loancare Servicing Solutions in view of the pending litigations between REL/RFL and other corporate entities, and his only endeavour was to streamline their affairs.

Advocate Amit Chadha, APP for the State, contended that the Petitioner was at the helm of affairs of the Complainant Company and was instrumental in causing wrongful loss to the Complainant Company to the tune of Rs. 3.39 crores. 

He argued that investigation had revealed that Rs. 3.39 crores had been transferred to the account of Kalpana Exports and that from this account, an amount of Rs. 2 crores was transferred to accused company, Halcyon Asia Support Services Pvt. Ltd. Further, KYC documents of the accused company confirmed that the account had been opened by Mohnish Mukkar and Nisha Gupta.

Decision 

The single judge bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad stated that It is well settled that ordinarily, arrest is a part of the process of investigation intended to secure several purposes. The accused may have to be questioned in detail regarding various facets of motive, preparation, commission and aftermath of the crime and the connection of other persons, if any, in the crime.

The court said that factors such as nature and seriousness of the proposed charges, context of the events leading to the said charges, reasonable apprehension of tampering with evidence or threatening witnesses, likelihood of presence being secured during trial, etc. must be taking into account while deciding an application for anticipatory bail.

The court noted that the Petitioner is evading arrest, despite having been served notices under Section 91/160 Cr.P.C. An NBW has also been issued against the Petitioner. Apart from being accused of having siphoned off funds from the Complainant Company to the tune of Rs. 3.39 crores, the Petitioner has further been accused of forging the stamp of the Complainant Company as well as surreptitiously executing the Settlement Agreement that discharged the liability of the accused companies to pay Rs. 150 crores to the Complainant Company.

The court did not deem it fit to grant anticipatory bail to the Petitioner and dismissed the bail applications. 

Case title: Francis Daniel Lee v/s State

Citation: BAIL APPLN. 2453/2021 & CRL.M.(BAIL) 928/2021, CRL.M.A. 20202/2021, CRL.M.A. 21042/2021

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