Ex-Religare promoter Shivinder Singh arrested in fraud case

Former promoter of Religare Enterprises Shivinder Singh

The Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police Thursday arrested former promoter of Religare Enterprises Shivinder Singh and three others in connection with an allegedly misappropriating funds of Religare Finvest Limited (RFL) to the tune of Rs 2,397 crore, news agency PTI reported.

Others arrested include Sunil Godhwani, the former Chairman and Managing Director of Religare Enterprises Limited (REL), Kavi Arora and Anil Saxena, who also occupied important positions in REL and RFL.

RFL is a subsidiary of the REL. Shivinder and his elder brother Malvinder were earlier the promoters of REL.

Earlier in March, the EOW had registered an FIR after it received a complaint from Manpreet Singh Suri of the RFL against Shivinder, Godhwani and others alleging financial fraud.

The arrest also came two months after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had carried out searches in his residence after revelations from the Mauritius Leaks on the offshore holdings of Shivinder Singh and Malvinder Singh were described as “corroborative evidence” for the investigating agency.

In July, The Indian Express had reported that funds were allegedly diverted from Religare Enterprises Ltd (REL), a company listed in India, into a Jersey firm that was solely owned by Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh, using a web of offshore companies.

REL, which earned consolidated profits of Rs 92 crore on revenues of Rs 748 crore in 2007-08 turned into a loss-making firm in subsequent years with losses mounting to Rs 1,350 crore on revenues of Rs 2,586 crore in 2017-18.

The Singh brothers had a fallout with Sunil Godhwani, who was appointed by the brothers to lead their family office after Ranbaxy sale in addition to his role in Religare (of which he had become the CEO in 2001). Godhwani quit as Chairman and Managing Director of REL in July 2016, and stepped down as whole-time director in September 2017. Later on, the two brothers fought, blaming each other and Godhwani for fraud. Malvinder alleged that loans were given to Gurinder Singh Dhillon, the spiritual guru of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, to buy real estate.

Documents obtained from Appleby and Mauritius-based Conyers, Dill and Pearman — two big and reputed incorporators of offshore companies — show that Religare Capital Markets Ltd (RCML), a wholly-owned subsidiary of REL, set up an investment holding subsidiary in Mauritius in 2008.

With PTI inputs