New Delhi: Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh will be represented by separate counsels in the case filed by Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo Co. in a Delhi court to enforce the ₹ 3,500 crore arbitration award against the Singh brothers. Last week, Shivinder Singh disassociated himself from the business dealings of elder brother Malvinder.
The two brothers were represented by separate counsels in the hearing of the matter on 5 September, a day after Shivinder filed a case of “oppression” against Malvinder and family friend Sunil Godhwani for leading a “systemic malaise” at Fortis Healthcare Ltd and other companies controlled by them, according to two people aware of the matter.
DMD Advocates senior partner Anuradha Dutt and a battery of lawyers represent the Singh brothers.
“It has been decided that they will be represented by separate legal counsels,” said one of the two people cited before, requesting anonymity. “In the last hearing on 5 September, Akhil Sibal argued on behalf of Malvinder Singh, while a separate counsel, Sandeep Sethi, was present on behalf of Shivinder Singh.”
Vijay Pal Dalmia, partner at law firm Vaish Associates, said: “Since there is so much mistrust between the brothers now, it makes more sense for them to fight it out separately. It is likely that both may take adverse stance even in the proceedings and will make the case weak.”
A Singapore arbitration court ordered the Singh brothers to pay ₹ 3,500 crore for concealing information related to wrongdoings at Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, once India’s largest drug maker, when Daiichi acquired it from the brothers for $4.6 billion in 2008.
The Delhi high court upheld the award on 31 January 2018, paving the way for Daiichi Sankyo to recover ₹3,500 crore from the former Ranbaxy promoters.
The Singh brothers have in the past six months seen a dramatic decline in their fortunes. They have had their public shareholdings seized by lenders. They are also under scrutiny for diverting money from Fortis Healthcare to their privately-held companies. The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has opened a probe against the brothers.
Fortis Healthcare has said it will appoint an external agency to undertake scrutiny of its internal controls and compliances, after an investigation found systemic lapses in funds allegedly taken out of it by erstwhile promoters Singh brothers.
In a statement on 4 September, Shivinder distanced himself from alleged irregularities and decisions taken in the past two years at the hospital chain. He also sought to disassociate himself from his elder brother, saying that he had “all along been the publicly supportive younger brother to Malvinder’s chairmanship of the group, who took decisions on behalf of the family”.
“While it saddens me immensely and I wish Malvinder well; I can no longer be party to activities in which transparency and ethics are continuously and consistently negated,” he said. “It has come to a point where this means that I am now disassociating from my brother as a business partner and will be pursuing an independent path going forward.”