The wheels of justice in India keep inching closer to the guru who heads up Radha Soami Satsang Beas, Gurinder Singh Dhillon. A story in The Economic Times reports, "Delhi Police books Singh brothers & others on charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy."
(Scroll down for another blog post I just wrote relating to the RSSB guru, "Sheetal Talwar talks about death threat made from RSSB satsang office.")
One of the "others" charged with criminal conspiracy is Sunil Godhwani, who has been described as Gurinder Singh Dhillon's right-hand man.
Someone in the know about RSSB goings-on had this to say about Godhwani and a Singh brothers company, Religare, he ran as CEO. I've boldfaced parts for emphasis.
I hope you know that the Guru and his family are the largest shareholders of the company : Religare. The business model was conceived by Gurinder, and the Singh brothers are just a front-face of the company. In the second quarter of 2009, some members of the Religare top-brass understood that ' orders ' were coming not from the CEO but from a ' higher source ' and that the CEO was nothing but a pawn in the hands of a ' Guru ' who was taking all the decisions - but was actually incognito.
They soon discovered that a shareholder by the name of ' Gurpreet Dhillon ' who was tucked away in the London office was actually the son of the leader of a large spiritual sect. A little more inquiry lead to further details that uncovered Gurinder Singh Dhillon of RSSB as the founder and ' hidden ' head-honcho of Religare. (How the leader of a spiritual sect managed to set up and drive a billion dollar company is another issue, one that I'm not going to talk about at the moment.)
Now, lets talk about Charlie's Angels. The CEO of Religare Enterprises Ltd. is an initiate named Mr. Sunil Godhwani - the personal treasurer and right-hand man of the Guru. He is also the Guru's long-time friend. Closed-door meetings are often held at Mr. Sunil Godhwani's farmhouse in New Delhi and the Guru is constantly in touch with him on the phone when they're apart. (Even the chauffeurs know about this !)
A 2018 Economic Times story had this to say about Godhwani. "Dera" refers to the headquarters of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, which is led by Gurinder Singh Dhillon.
So it's a big deal that Godhwani has been charged with criminal conspiracy, given that the conspiracy illegally siphoned money from companies controlled by Godhwani and the Singh brothers into other companies controlled by the Dhillon family, and thus into the pockets of the RSSB guru and his relatives.
Here's excerpts from the new Economic Times story. REL stands for "Religare Enterprises Ltd.", the company Godhwani was the CEO of.
The complaint, which forms the part of the FIR — accessed by ET— alleges that Singh brothers, in collusion with the co-accused, had “orchestrated the financial scam in or around 2016”.
It accuses the two brothers of hatching “a well thought out and organised criminal conspiracy by which a financial scam of huge magnitude has been effected (sic)”. The complainant has sought tracing and restitution of its properties. Singh brothers were promoters of REL till February 2018 and, as promoters, they “exercised deep and pervasive control over the management of RFL since it was a subsidiary company”.
The complaint (part of the FIR) further reads “REL is of the belief, also shared by RFL, that Singh brothers and Sunil Godhwani colluded and siphoned off funds from REL and its subsidiaries which include RFL and committed corporate fraud”.
...The complainant has said that despite red flags raised by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Singh brothers did not take corrective action and continued with the “financial scam”.
It adds “from records it is apparent that RBI from time-to-time had expressed concerns regarding the CLB portfolio of RFL. But these concerns were not addressed by the promoters. RBI had specifically raised concerns about the promoters using their influence for disbursal of high-value unsecured loans to entities with no financial standing (but controlled or associated with the promoters) and breach of corporate governance norms.”
Now, though Gurinder Singh Dhillon isn't mentioned in the complaint, he and his family should be deeply worried about this new development.
Let's note a few things in the "Singh Bros in the Soup" image above.
First, "Complainant has sought tracing and restitution of its properties." Thus the reconstituted board of Religare wants to know what happened to the money that was siphoned off by the Singh brothers, Sunil Godhwani, and unnamed other people. The board also wants to get the money back.
Second, "REL and RFL have filed a separate complaint with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs for an investigation into the said fraud." So there's going to be more digging into how the criminal conspiracy operated.
Someone sent me a copy of the complaint, but the formatting makes it really hard to read. Here's the PDF file:
Download Religare complaint
I did manage to read enough of it to find a mention of some of the companies that got the fraudulently diverted money from Religare. There are many shell companies mentioned in the criminal complaint. Here's two screenshots.
The screenshot below gives an overall description of the fraud. MMS refers to Malvinder Mohan Singh, SMS to Shivinder Mohan Singh, and SG to Sunil Godhwani. The complaint says that the loans were never intended to be repaid by the shell companies.
This screenshot mentions some of the shell companies. Note that Prius Real Estate and Modland Wears are two of the companies. Also, that Modland admits getting the fraudulent money, which was then disbursed to the "intended recipients."
So let's turn now to a post I wrote in 2018, "Business Today reports about Gurinder Singh Dhillon's suspicious financial dealings." Here's excerpts I shared from the Business Today story. I've boldfaced some parts for emphasis.
Dhillon has headed the [RSSB] sect since inheriting it in 1990 from maternal uncle Charan Singh who was the spiritual guru between 1951 and 1990. Charan Singhs daughter Nimmi Singh is Malvinder & Shivinders mother and wife of Late Parvinder Singh. Thus, Dhillon is the brothers' maternal uncle.
In comes confidante Godhwani, who was recommended and backed by Dhillon to run non-banking finance company Religare Enterprises. The Singhs often referred to him as their third brother but he once said he owed his allegiance to nobody except Dhillon.
...Once the proceeds of the Ranbaxy sale were received, the Singh brothers paid nearly Rs2,000 crore in taxes and previous loan repayments. Of the remaining Rs7,500 crore, Rs1,750 crore were invested in Religare to fund its growth; about Rs2,230 crore was invested in Fortis' growth.
But most importantly, Rs2,700 crore were transferred to companies owned by the Dhillon family, Gurinder Dhillons wife Shabnam Dhillon and companies associated with RSSB's senior functionaries. While Religare and Fortis are examples of reckless expansion and its consequences, the money transferred to Dhillon and associates-which (with interest) is now estimated to be between Rs4000-5,000 crore-remains unpaid to the Singhs.
It isnt clear why this money was never returned. Dhillon and the Singh brothers did not respond to detailed questions on whether this money was owed to Dhillon and associates for any previous transactions or was only loaned to them.
...'Prius Platinum, Ground Floor, D3, District Centre, Saket, New Delhi-110017' could pass off as a nondescript address. Until you notice a striking similarity: Company after company registering it as their official address in the RoC records. At least 16 at last count. Many of them have even declared the same email ID in the RoC records: [email protected]; and are also being audited by the same firm.
Prius Real Estate, Prius Commercial Projects, Best Healthcare, Modland Wears, Fern Healthcare, Addon Realty, Hillgrow Infrastructure, Bestest Developers, Platinum Infrastructure. Even the Singh family's holding companies, RHC Holding and Oscar Investments, have declared it as their address.
Nearly Rs2,700 crore was routed to these Dhillon-RSSB functionaries companies between 2009 and 2012 through a layered and complex web of subsidiaries. Of that, Rs2,000 crore was invested in two firms--Prius Real Estate and Prius Commercial Projects.
RoC records say Prius Commercial is 84 per cent owned by Dhillons wife Shabnam and 16 per cent by RSSB Delhi head Yuvraj Narain Gorwaney. Prius Real Estate is 50:50 owned by Dhillons elder son Gurpreet and RSSBs Rajveer Singh.
Thus it sure seems like the Dhillon family is facing some additional legal challenges. They were owners of shell companies mentioned in the Religare criminal conspiracy complaint as having participated in the fraud, and the Dhillons also were recipients of the fraudulently obtained money.