Ranbaxy’s ex-promoters Malvinder and Shivinder Singh held guilty of contempt by Supreme Court

New Delhi, Nov 15, 2019-

The Supreme Court on Friday held former Ranbaxy promoters, Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, guilty of contempt for violating the order directing the duo to not divest their shares in Fortis Healthcare Ltd.

In April, the apex court had reserved its order on a contempt plea filed by Japanese pharma company Daiichi Sankyo against Ranbaxy’s Singh brothers over non-payment of Rs 3,500 crore in an international arbitration award.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has directed the brothers to draw out a roadmap to honour the decision given by a Singapore tribunal in favour of Daiichi Sankyo.

On Friday, the court held the brothers guilty of contempt of court. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta ruled that the brothers violated its orders by selling their controlling stakes in Fortis Group to Malaysian firm IHH Healthcare, which was put on hold. The court will conduct the hearing on the sentencing later. In April, the court had specifically said it will decide on the issue of ‘contempt of court’ only.

In April, counsel appearing for Daiichi told the apex court that former Ranbaxy promoter Malvinder Singh had given undertaking in the Delhi High Court, stating that the value of their “unencumbered assets” was Rs 452 crore. Daiichi’s counsel said that the Delhi HC-appointed valuer had prepared two reports in this regard.

Counsel for Malvinder Singh told the top court that the enforcement proceedings against them are still pending before the High Court, and that all the banks accounts have already been frozen by the court. His counsel said it is a civil contempt case, and Malvinder Singh hasn’t violated any court order.

Shivinder Singh, brother of Malvinder, through his counsel, told the top court that the current contempt being argued emerges for not following an interim order. During the hearing, Malvinder Singh, presenting his point regarding the allegations of violating restraint on dealing with Fortis shares, said: “Didn’t violate restraint on dealing with Fortis’ shares, Indiabulls did that.”

On March 14, the apex court had asked the duo to submit a concrete plan for repaying the Japanese firm in consultation with their accountants and financial/legal advisors and then inform the court on April 5. But, the bench notice that no payback plan has been put in place.

Malvinder Singh’s counsel had told the court that they have been duped and “nearly Rs 6,300 crore has been siphoned off”.

The Delhi High Court in January 2018 upheld the international arbitral award. This decision led to the enforcement of the 2016 tribunal award against the brothers. The Singh brothers had sold their shares in Ranbaxy to Daiichi for Rs 9,576.1 crore in 2008. Later, the company was acquired by Sun Pharmaceuticals Ltd from Daiichi.  (Agency)