SC asks Singh brothers to come up with plan to pay Daiichi Rs 3,500 cr

Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder Mohan Singh | File photo
The Supreme Court on Thursday asked former promoters of Fortis Healthcare, Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder Mohan Singh, to come up with a concrete plan as to how they planned to pay Rs 3,500 crore to Daiichi Sankyo.

The top court asked the two brothers to consult their financial and legal advisors and give the plan by March 28 on how they planned to comply with the decree against them that requires them to pay the said amount.

“It is not about individual honour. But it doesn’t look good for the country’s honour. You were the flag-bearers of the pharma industry and it doesn’t look good that you are appearing in court,” Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said, adding if they submitted a concrete plan on March 28, it could be the last time they were appearing in court.

During the hearing on Thursday, the top court addressed both the brothers individually, starting with elder brother Malvinder. Though Malvinder tried to explain his position, he was cut short by the CJI. Addressing the younger sibling, the CJI observed while he understood Shivinder had “renounced the world and left business” to his elder brother to manage, he also needed to find a solution to pay back the decree amount.

“If you are renouncing the world, it may be good for you…it is not good for us. You can’t renounce the world when there is a decree against you. Now that you are back, start thinking about the money,” the CJI told the younger brother.

Malvinder tried to take the mic and explain his position again when he was interjected by the CJI, who warned him it would be better if he talked to his lawyer first before speaking out. “I know it is very tempting to hold a mic and start speaking when you see one, but think about what you say because it will be recorded and will be held against you. You may want take counsel of your lawyers before you give any comment in the court,” the CJI said.

The two brothers had made a personal appearance on Thursday, following orders of the court on the same. On the last date, the top court had said it wanted to hear the two brothers personally on how they planned to pay the Daiichi decree. The said decree has been passed against the Singh brothers by a Singapore tribunal.

The tribunal had held that the brothers had, while selling their stake in Ranbaxy to Daiichi in 2008, hidden information regarding a probe the company was facing from the US Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Justice. To resolve the potential civil and criminal liability that could have arisen due to the suit by both the US agencies, Daiichi had agreed to pay $500 million as a part of the settlement agreement. Daiichi had later sold its stake in Ranbaxy to Sun Pharmaceutical Industries in 2015 for a sum of Rs 22,679 crore.

A three-judge Bench headed by Gogoi is hearing a plea moved by Daiichi Sankyo against the stake sale of Fortis Healthcare to IHH Berhard Malaysia. In another contempt plea moved before the court, Daiichi has said that the two brothers had gone against the orders of the top court by selling some shares of the company.

 The top court, on December 14 last year, had ordered status quo with regard to the sale of controlling stakes of Fortis Healthcare. In July, the board of Fortis Healthcare had approved IHH Berhard’s plan to invest Rs 4,000 crore by way of preferential allotment for a 31.1 per cent stake.

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