Singh brothers—Malvinder (left) and Shivinder. Daiichi Sankyo is seeking enforcement of the 2016 arbitration award related to its Ranbaxy acquisition in 2008. (HT)
Singh brothers—Malvinder (left) and Shivinder. Daiichi Sankyo is seeking enforcement of the 2016 arbitration award related to its Ranbaxy acquisition in 2008. (HT)

Daiichi-Ranbaxy arbitration case: Find a way to pay up, SC tells Singh brothers

  • Shivinder Singh says he has renounced corporate life, wasn't involved in the Daiichi-Ranbaxy deal or the arbitration award
  • Malvinder Singh says Gurinder Singh Dhillon of Radha Soami Satsang Beas spent the Ranbaxy money to buy real estate

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed Singh brothers Malvinder and Shivinder, the former promoters of Ranbaxy Laboratories, to come up with a plan to secure the 3,500 crore award passed by a Singapore arbitration tribunal in favour of Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo Inc. The Singh brothers appeared before the court in person and submitted affidavits pursuant to a previous court direction even as they continued to blame each other for the mess.

The court was hearing a plea by Daiichi Sankyo, which is seeking enforcement of the arbitration award related to the sale of the Singh brothers’ stake in Ranbaxy to Daiichi for $4.6 billion in 2008. Following the sale, severe quality issues surfaced at Ranbaxy’s plants. Daiichi blamed the Singh brothers for suppressing facts relating to the plants. In 2016, a Singapore tribunal ordered the Singh brothers to pay compensation to Daiichi.

In the affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, Shivinder Singh claimed he had retired from corporate life at 40 and shifted to an ashram to devote time to charitable work. He claimed that he was neither involved in the negotiations for the Daiichi-Ranbaxy deal in 2008, nor was he part of the arbitration proceedings leading to the award.

Malvinder Singh, in his 30-page affidavit, claimed that Gurinder Singh Dhillon, the spiritual head of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, his family members and companies controlled by him used funds from the Ranbaxy sale to buy real estate, and loans and advances of over 6,000 crore made to them were due. Malvinder claimed that though he made all efforts to sell his assets, these were thwarted by Daiichi Sankyo.

He also said that due to the enforcement proceedings, lenders had stopped granting additional loans, which further weakened the financial position of the operating companies.

Senior advocate Fali S. Nariman, appearing on behalf of Daiichi Sankyo, told the court that the Singh brothers had filed an affidavit in which Malvinder expressed “his bona fide to repay the company, while Shivinder has said he has become a sadhu". To which the court said: “Renouncing is good for you, but not for us. Good that you are back now, please start thinking about money".

Also read: Brothers Singh and the squandering of a business empire

The Supreme Court asked Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh to sit with their lawyers and accountants, and find solutions to secure the arbitration award. “It is not about individual honour, but it doesn’t look good for the country’s honour. You were the flag-bearers of the pharmacare industry and it doesn’t look good that you are appearing in court.... You’re coming to the Supreme Court for the first time, let’s hope it’s the last time," Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, before adjourning the case till 28 March.

Also read: The billionaires and the guru: How Singh brothers burnt through $2 billion

The Singh brothers had challenged the Singapore tribunal’s decision before courts in India and Singapore. In October 2017, the Delhi high court upheld the decision by the Singapore arbitration tribunal and ordered them to pay Daiichi.