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NEW DELHI: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police has filed a chargesheet in a district court in Delhi against jailed-erstwhile billionaire brothers Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, as well as some employees of Lakshmi Vilas Bank, in an alleged fraud of nearly 800 crore, two sources in the know told Mint on condition of anonymity.

The chargesheet was filed on 23 March based on a first information report by Religare Finvest Ltd, whose parent Religare Enterprises Ltd was earlier owned by the Singh brothers. The court is yet to take cognizance of the chargesheet, the sources said.

“A charge-sheet has been filed against Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh. The charge-sheet had been filed on 23rd (March) on the basis of a FIR (first information report) of number 189 of 2019 by Religare, but the court has not taken cognizance of it yet as the courts shut down a day later," one of the sources said.

The entire country has been under a lockdown since that week to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus infection, or covid-19. The two sources said that the district court at Saket in Delhi will take cognizance of the charge-sheet only when it opens.

The case pertains to a criminal complaint filed by Religare Finvest Ltd with the EOW on 15 May last year, where the company said that Lakshmi Vilas Bank had liquidated four fixed deposits worth a total of nearly 800 crore to adjust for loans that were given to the Singh brothers-owned RHC Holding and its subsidiary Ranchem Pvt Ltd.

Apart from the Singh brothers, who were also promoters of Religare Enterprises till early 2018, the complaint was filed against directors and some other officials of the bank, RHC Holding and Ranchem.

An official close to the Singh brothers said that they do not know whether a charge-sheet has been filed and that they have not been served it so far.

Emailed queries sent to Lakshmi Vilas Bank and Religare Enterprises did not elicit a reply at the time of publishing.

Religare Enterprises had a change in ownership in early 2018 amid allegations of misappropriation of funds by the Singh brothers. After the change in ownership and board members, Religare Enterprises started taking legal action against its promoters.

Apart from the criminal case in Saket district court, there is also a civil recovery suit of approximately 800 crore that was filed before the Delhi high court in May 2018.

Religare Enterprises had also filed complaints against their former promoters with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Enforcement Directorate and Ministry of Corporate Affairs over various alleged instances of fraud.

The Delhi Police had in October arrested the brothers, Sunil Godhwani and two others for allegedly causing wrongful loss worth 2,397 crore to Religare Finvest. Godhwani was the chairman and managing director of Religare Enterprises till 2016.

The arrests were a culmination of a year-long probe into the affairs of the Singh brothers, heirs to a storied business house that was worth billions a few years ago. Much of their troubles can be traced to the breakneck expansion plan of group companies that threw their businesses into a debt spiral.

Apart from financial fraud at Religare Finvest, the Singh brothers are at the centre of multiple controversies, including an alleged financial fraud at their formerly-owned business Fortis Healthcare.

The brothers are also fighting a court battle against Japanese drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo Co, which seeks to enforce an arbitration award of nearly 2,600 crore by a Singapore tribunal in a case involving their former company, Ranbaxy Laboratories.

(Shayan Ghosh from Mumbai contributed to the story)

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