New Delhi: Claiming ₹250 crore in dues from the erstwhile promoter of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd and Religare Enterprises Ltd, Malvinder Singh, ICICI Bank Ltd has filed an application with the Supreme Court, asking to be made a party in the case filed by Japanese drug maker Daiichi Sankyo Co. Ltd. Daiichi Sankyo is seeking enforcement of a ₹3,500 crore arbitration award by a Singapore-based tribunal.
The matter is likely to be taken up on Friday for hearing in the Supreme Court.
The lender has filed an intervention application in the Supreme Court stating that both ICICI Bank and Daiichi Sankyo have equal rights in seeking dues and should be treated on a par, two people aware of the matter said.
According to the people, the bank, in its special leave petition, has stated that both ICICI Bank and Daiichi Sankyo are unsecured creditors and thus similarly placed. Therefore, according to the bank’s plea, if the entire awarded amount is secured in favour of Daiichi Sankyo, there may be nothing left for ICICI Bank to recover.
It has submitted that its application may be put on a par with Daiichi and that it should be allowed to intervene in the proceedings.
ICICI Bank has alleged that it had granted credit facility to the tune of ₹250 crore to Religare Finvest Ltd, one of the subsidiaries of Religare Enterprises, which was backed by the deed of guarantee executed by Singh in his personal and individual capacity in December 2015. As per the bank’s plea, under the terms and conditions stipulated in the credit arrangement letter, the money had to be repaid in full at the end of five years and five months. Singh, however, failed to pay up or comply with the demand notices served by the bank.
The bank has already initiated recovery proceedings before the debt recovery tribunal (DRT). ICICI Bank had also approached the Delhi high court regarding the same issue. However, its plea was disposed of on the grounds that it had no locus standi in the matter. The judge had asked the bank to come back after having a decree in its favour from the DRT.
Supreme Court had in its least hearing directed both the Singh brothers—Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh—to come up with a plan to secure the ₹3,500 crore award.
The court had asked both the brothers 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 had said, before adjourning the case till 28 March.
The court is hearing a plea by Daiichi Sankyo related to the sale of the Singh brothers’ stake in Ranbaxy to Daiichi for $4.6 billion in 2008. Following the sale, several quality issues surfaced at Ranbaxy’s plants. Daiichi blamed the Singh brothers for suppressing facts relating to the plants. In 2016, the Singapore tribunal ordered Singh brothers to pay compensation to Daiichi.