Extraordinary powers of the court are not meant for “affluent” accused to “arm-twist” the law to achieve their “scrupulous” ends, the Delhi High Court observed, refusing to direct prison authorities to facilitate physical meetings between ex-Fortis promoter Malvinder Mohan Singh and his counsel.
It has been alleged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that Malvinder Singh, arrested for alleged misappropriation of funds from Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL) along with others, has swindled the proceeds of the crime to the tune of Rs 2,397 crore, the court noted.
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“Economic offences are detrimental not only to the economy of the nation but also the society at large. The underprivileged and downtrodden are often at the receiving end of the after-effects of such offences. Extraordinary powers of this court are not meant to be exercised at the disposal of the affluent accused who do not leave any stone unturned to arm-twist the law of the land and administrative machinery to achieve their scrupulous ends,” Justice Chandra Dhari Singh said in a May 6 order.
The court dismissed Malvinder Singh’s plea seeking directions to the jail superintendent of Tihar Jail No. 8 to facilitate physical meetings with his advocate while in custody at the Delhi High Court Mediation Centre.
He had also challenged a December 7, 2021 trial court order dismissing his plea to physically consult his lawyers outside jail premises while in custody to prepare for proceedings before the Supreme Court, the high courts of Delhi and Chandigarh, and various district courts and forums.
Justice Singh rejected his plea, saying extraordinary writ jurisdiction cannot be exercised to give special treatment to the petitioner by facilitating physical meetings for him with his counsel.
“Inherent powers of the court are meant to be exercised to prevent the abuse of the process of any court. However, the petitioner, under the garb of the liberty to approach the court under the said provision, is attempting to commit gross misuse of process,” the high court said.
It said the provision relating to inherent powers of the high court meant to secure the ends of justice cannot be otherwise subverted to circumvent the scheme of the CrPC.
“In light of the aforesaid, this court does not find any cogent reason or any substantial ground to invoke its extraordinary jurisdiction to grant the relief that is being sought by the petitioner. Accordingly, the instant petition stands dismissed as being bereft of merit,” it said.
Central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, representing the ED, contended that the petition was devoid of merits and was nothing but an abuse of the process and should accordingly be dismissed.
However, on instructions, he submitted that the prison authorities may arrange or facilitate physical meetings of Malvinder Singh while in custody with his lawyer at the Delhi High Court Mediation and Conciliation Centre through Delhi Armed Police, 3rd Battalion, if instructed by the high court.
Malvinder Singh, his brother Shivinder, also a former Fortis Healthcare promoter, former CMD of Religare Enterprises Ltd (REL) Sunil Godhwani, former CEO of REL Kavi Arora and former CFO of RFL Anil Saxena were arrested by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police for allegedly diverting RFL’s money and investing in other companies.
The EOW registered an FIR in March 2019 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.
An Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) was registered by the ED on September 24, 2019 against Malvinder Singh for alleged offences punishable under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in connection with the scheduled offences of cheating and criminal conspiracy under the IPC.