Here in the United States we get "treated" almost every day to new revelations about wrongdoing committed by President Trump and his cronies. I put that word in quotes because it certainly isn't a treat to learn how badly the leader of our country has been behaving.
Somewhat similarly, the Indian financial press has been regularly reporting on the financial follies of the guru who heads up Radha Soami Satsang Beas, Gurinder Singh Dhillon. Being familiar with the legal dramas surrounding both men -- Trump and Dhillon -- I see these commonalities.
(1) True believers refuse to recognize facts. Trump's approval rating among his Republican base remains very high, though not among Democrats and independents. Because Trump has done some things they like, such as appointing two conservative justices to the Supreme Court, his base ignores Trump's likely illegal and certainly unethical actions.
Dhillon's devotees are even more inclined to turn a blind eye to his wrongdoing, since he's considered to be God in human form with supernatural powers. Like, saving their souls.
(2) "He hasn't been convicted yet" is a familiar refrain. People all around Donald Trump have been accused, and convicted, of lying to investigators. Also, there's plenty of evidence that Trump's associates had close times with Russians seeking to undermine the 2016 election and help get Trump elected. But Trump himself hasn't been indicted. As a sitting president, he may be immune from indictment.
Likewise, Gurinder Singh Dhillon has had a criminal complaint filed against him by his cousin, Malvinder Singh. The complaint alleges that Dhillon made death threats against Malvinder and engaged in massive financial fraud, aided and abetted by Malvinder's brother, Shivinder, and close associates of the RSSB guru such as Sunil Godhwani.
But since the criminal complaint hasn't been adjudicated yet, defenders of Dhillon on this blog are fond of saying, "Innocent until proven guilty!" Well, of course. However, as noted below, there's plenty of evidence that Gurinder Singh Dhillon, his family members, and his close associates have engaged in financial fraud. Whether Dhillon will suffer criminal penalties is a question that remains to be answered.
(3) Ethical standards keep being lowered. Donald Trump is notorious for scoffing at important, yet unwritten, standards for how a President of the United States should behave while in office. Because he lies constantly and does shameful things on an almost daily basis, Trump is doing his best to redefine what counts as "ethical" for someone who inhabits the White House.
Similarly, Dhillon is a decidedly untraditional RSSB guru. He's devoted himself to amassing wealth through unsavory means. He has altered the RSSB teachings to suit his own purposes. He's embraced a lavish lifestyle for himself and his family. As you can read below, there's little or no doubt Dhillon has actively participated in financial fraud. Yet his followers excuse this bad behavior.
Now I'm going to share some comments from a well-informed frequent commenter on this blog, Spence Tepper. Tepper has been a hospital consultant for 30 years, so has the background to understand the complex financial machinations that have gotten Gurinder Singh Dhillon in such legal and ethical trouble.
Recently Tepper wrote a series of comments in response to questions and assertions made by other Church of the Churchless visitors. I found them clear and insightful. I also have quoted Tepper in a blog post, "Excellent summary of Gurinder Singh Dhillon's wrongdoing,"
There's very little doubt that Dhillon, his family, and his close associates have engaged in financial fraud.
All you have to do is combine the stories in the Indian financial press, the SEBI ruling referenced below, and Malvinder Singh's criminal complaint. This graphic from a LiveMint story shows facts that appear to be indisputable, being based on solid investigations by SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) along with other reporting. I've included the graphic so readers can cross-reference the names of companies mentioned below in Tepper's comments with the money shown above that flowed to the Dhillon family from Fortis via those companies.
I want to point out that the LiveMint story, "Fortis fraud may exceed ₹2,000 crore, says SFIO," talks about the amount of money involved here being markedly higher than the ₹403 crore cited in the SEBI ruling. SFIO stands for Serious Fraud Investigation Office. Excerpt:
The alleged funds diversion at Fortis Healthcare Ltd could add up to more than ₹2,000 crore [$285 million], according to the trail of funds uncovered by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), a government official said.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), too, suspects that the total size of the Fortis fraud could be much higher than the ₹403 crore it originally estimated, a second person familiar with the development said, requesting anonymity.
Sebi has already passed an order against Fortis to recover ₹500 crore from the Singh brothers for funds diverted to the promoter and promoter-related entities in December.
“At the heart of the alleged fund diversion is Gurinder Singh Dhillon, head of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, and Sanjay Godhwani, a former associate of Malvinder and Shivinder Singh. Six promoter-related companies were used to effect the funds diversion," the first person cited above said on condition of anonymity.
Here's the first comment from Spence Tepper. With each of his comments, I've corrected a few typos and left out the name of the person he was responding to.
You ask "Have actual documents been cited and examined by signatories and accredited financial experts?" Yes. Fortis has an independent accountant, as per legal requirements for a publicly held company, Deloitte. They refused to sign off on Fortis' annual statement, citing impropriety in the siphoning of funds which they had discovered.
Fortis engaged law firm Luthra and Luthra who then subcontracted with another accountancy, Grant Thornton Co., who confirmed and followed the loans to their destination. They were signed at Fortis by Malvinder and Shivinder, and by the loanee company principles (Shabnam Singh, Gurinder's wife, and other members of the Dhillon family).
Then the SEBI got involved, and confirmed these went with signed consent promising repayment, as zero collateral loans, to the Dhillon family companies.
And now the crime wing of that bureau is in the midst of their own investigation as well. But in October of last year, the Securities and Exchange Board completed their preliminary review, concluded that this was fraud, and further, ordered the Singh Brothers and the Dhillon-led companies to pay up quickly, or risk severe penalty.
"SINGH BROTHERS, OTHERS ASKED TO REPAY RS 403CR TO FORTIS Wed, 10/17/2018 - 11:48 EDT - The Economic Times RDF10 NEW DELHI:
In a potential blow to former Fortis Healthcare promoters Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has directed the brothers and eight entities related to them to repay the hospital group over Rs400 crore that were earlier transferred as inter-corporate deposits.
SEBI's order on Wednesday, which came following a preliminary investigation into alleged diversion of funds from Fortis by the Singhs, has found these transactions to be "fraudulent" in nature.The regulator has sought a detailed investigation into the modus operandi of the entire fraud by way of which funds were allegedly diverted from Fortis to its promoters and also said that other third parties such as banks and auditors would also come under the purview of such investigation.
SEBI, in its interim order, has issued directions to Fortis to "take all necessary steps" to recover Rs403 crore [about $58 million] along with due interest within three months from the Singhs and entities controlled by them, including RHC Holding Pvt Ltd, Religare Finvest Ltd, Shivi Holdings Pvt Ltd and Malav Holdings Pvt Ltd.
The regulator has also clarified that the Singhs and these entities will jointly and severally repay this amount to Fortis within the stipulated time. Pending completion of SEBI's investigation and till further order, the Singhs and these eight entities shall not dispose of or alienate any of their assets or divert any funds, except to repay Fortis and for meeting expenses of day-to-day business operations, without SEBI's prior permission.
The Singhs have also been directed not to associate themselves with the affairs of Fortis "in any manner whatsoever, till further directions," stated the order.
SEBI began investigating the transactions in February following a news report that stated that the brothers had withdrawn close to Rs 500 crore from Fortis without the board's prior approval. According to its order, the regulator found that Fortis, through a subsidiary, had made ICDs of over Rs470 crore to three companies.
SEBI's order noted that the ICD transactions entered into by Fortis with the three entities - Best Healthcare, Fern Healthcare and Modland Wears - between 30 June 2016 to 30 June 2017 were "prime facie fictitious and fraudulent in nature". https://www.bullfax.com/?q=node-singh-brothers-others-asked-repay-rs-403cr-fortis
Fraud by Gurinder and the Singhs has ALREADY been established by the Bureau. They have been given a small window to pay up, or suffer further legal action.
Here's Tepper's second comment:
The article I cited above detailed the order given by the Securities and Exchange Board of India. This is their legal ruling. 'Fictitious and Fradulent' is their legal judgment after several months of review of the loans between the Singhs and Gurinder's companies.
And their order for both to repay Fortis now is a legal judgment, holding both culpable.
According to Wikipedia "The Securities and Exchange Board of India is the regulator for the securities market in India. It was established in 1988 and given statutory powers on 30 January 1992 through the SEBI Act, 1992" And you may learn more about the legal powers of the SEBI here: https://www.sebi.gov.in/powers-and-functions.html
They have the legal power to search and seizure, to hold hearings, tender judgment, as well as to levy severe penalties, and they have done so already. Guilty.
Gurinder's companies and the Singhs in their loan transactions using Fortis money are found to be guilty of activity that was... "Fictitious and Fraudulent." They are both responsible and are both ordered to repay the loans now or suffer severe penalty. And in addition Fortis is ordered to aggressively pursue repayment from both the Singhs and Gurinder's companies.
Here's Tepper's third comment:
I have only cited the SEBI legal judgment and order. I think we can leave judgment to the government body responsible to make such legal judgments and penalties. They have already done their job. Legally, Gurinder is guilty and responsible. But as Gurinder has not come to the hearings, not offered his position, nor paid back the loans, the courts will likely be next. But as to guilt, that has already been established by the governing body responsible. Verdict? Guilty.
Here's Tepper's fourth comment:
Yes I think there is more to the story, certainly. But that can only explain why they engaged in fraud repeatedly, and who the actual actors were. With Dhillon family members involved at every step, the owners of the company are rightly responsible to repay the loans, Shabnam and Gurinder as owners share in that.
This wasn't just a one time accident, but a systematic series of decisions and actions. Baba Ji may not have known. But over years of time, any decent human being would have taken actions to stop the crimes and make every effort to make up for the harm done, to repay the loans.
It takes a true decent human being to step in and stop criminal activity among family members even when that includes taking responsibility for their crimes. But that hasn't happened here. We don't know the inner workings. We may never know.
But we do know that several fictitious shell companies where Gurinder's wife is the principle officer, and where Gurinder and his sons also are owners, engaged in fraud to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, they were given three months to repay and have remained silent and unresponsive.
When you take profit from an investment you own, you have responsibility for any damage to others that ensues. The responsibility has already been assessed by the agency responsible to do so. That's already done. Guilty of fictitious and fraudulent business deadlines.
And here's Tepper's fifth comment:
This is all we know so far : Several Gurinder owned companies are guilty according to the legal judgment of the SEBI of fictitious and fraudulent business dealings. The evidence for the judgment involves hundreds of millions of dollars over a series of systematic frauds engaged in by fictitious shell companies owned by Gurinder and his family. Nothing else can be concluded at this time.