Here's a hot-off-the-press (August 13) story from The Economic Times about the latest turn of events involving the Singh brothers and their relative, Gurinder Singh Dhillon, the guru of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB).
Dhillon has been accused by Malvinder Singh of using his influence as a trusted spiritual guide and family advisor to siphon off hundreds of millions of dollars from a company once controlled by Malvinder.
Fraudulent "loans" allegedly funneled money into the pockets of the guru and his family via shell companies headed up by directors associated with the Dhillon family and RSSB.
I've boldfaced portions of the story that mention the RSSB guru. It does seem extremely suspicious that the criminal complaint Malvinder filed against Dhillon and others back in February 2019 hasn't been investigated.
Many people have left comments on blog posts I've written about this financial scandal and the guru's involvement in it. Fairly frequently it is observed that the Indian justice system has a lot of corruption and favoritism embedded in it. So powerful well-connected people get treated lightly, or not at all, while others get punished.
This is a test case of sorts for whether international investors can trust that the Indian justice system will investigate alleged corporate financial misdeeds fairly and openly.
So far, India is getting poor marks on this question. Malvinder presented compelling evidence in his criminal complaint that Gurinder Singh Dhillon was a mastermind of the fraudulent transactions that ended up enriching the Dhillon family.
Until the RSSB guru either is cleared or indicted by Indian authorities, there will always be reason to suspect that the supposedly "spiritual" leader of a large religious group is getting special treatment from the Powers-That-Be in India.
Malvinder Singh, former promoter of Religare NSE -0.56 % Enterprises who is under custody for alleged money laundering, has accused spiritual leader Gurinder Singh Dhillon of engineering “systematic downfall” of Religare group by misusing his influence over the former.
In his bail petition filed last week, Singh alleged that he has been falsely implicated and is “being made a scapegoat to shield certain individuals and the management of the complainant company (Religare) from legal action and claims”.
He alleged that Dhillon, head of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB), is the “culprit who has contrived the systematic downfall of the Religare group of companies as well as RHC group by misusing his filial and spiritual influence over the applicant as well as committing fraud” in conspiracy with Sunil Godhwani and Shivinder Singh, co-accused in the Rs 2,100-crore fraud case.
ET has accessed a copy of the petition filed before a local Court
“Gurinder Singh Dhillon has unwittingly left a trail of breadcrumbs revealing his involvement, including the appointment of many of his devotees as directors in the defaulting companies,” it said.
Malvinder’s lawyer Manu Sharma argued that a commercial dispute of loan default and alleged violations of prudential and corporate governance norms are being given the colour of a criminal offence, which ought not to be countenanced by the court.
Malvinder has claimed that he had filed a complaint against Dhillon and several others in the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Delhi police in February last year, seeking investigation against their alleged fraudulent activities. “However, to the prejudice of the applicant (Malvinder), the same has not been investigated,” the petition said.
It also claimed that he has no relationship with borrower entities used for the alleged fraud. There is not even a shred of credible material to show that Malvinder controlled the affairs of these companies, it claimed.
“Most of the directors of borrower entities were not only devout followers of Radha Soami Satsang Beas with unassailable reverence for Gurinder Singh Dhillon but were also inimically disposed to the Malvinder as he had filed a complaint against Dhillon with the EOW in February 2019”, Malvinder has stated in his petition.
Dhillon has denied allegations of wrongdoing.
Malvinder in his petition also claimed that the agencies' accusation that public money is involved in the instant case is nothing but a “myth”. He has contended that it is imperative to note that Religare Finvest, the group firm which the money was allegedly siphoned off, itself was not a public listed company and did not accept public deposits.
Malvinder is in custody for over eight months. He stands booked by the EOW and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in separate cases of fraud.
Referring to bail granted by the Delhi High Court to his brother Shivinder Singh last month, Malvinder has argued that he “deserves the benefit of parity”.
ED is expected to present its arguments on Malvinder’s bail plea next week.
In its charge sheet filed against the Singh brothers, ED had alleged in January that Malvinder and Shivinder Singh along with co-accused Sunil Godhwani laundered Rs 2,100 crore from Religare, using 19 ‘shell’ companies.