The latest episode of infighting between former Fortis Healthcare promoters Malvinder and Shivinder Singh has the two brothers accusing each other of physical assault, perhaps unprecedented in Corporate India’s history.
The spiralling dispute took an ugly turn after a video clip surfaced on social media where Malvinder can be heard saying he had been threatened and injured by Shivinder, and that his younger brother had tried to interrupt a board meeting of Prius Real Estate.
The two brothers, who have been joint promoters of several marquee enterprises like Fortis, Ranbaxy and Religare, reportedly came to blows during the board meeting on Wednesday evening.
“Today is December 5, 2018. Little after 6 pm, Shivinder Singh assaulted me at 55, Hanuman Road. He physically hit me, he hurt me, broke my button, gave a bruise here and kept threatening me. He refused to budge until the team here came together and separated him from me,” Malvinder said in the video.
Shivinder, however, denied the charges and said the video circulated by the elder brother was a lie. He claimed it was he who was “scuffled up”. “He (Malvinder) scuffled me up in office yesterday when I wanted to enter a meeting where he was intimidating and threatening our employees. He tried to push me out and then tried to get some female employees to put a harassment case on me,” Shivinder said in a message circulated among his friends.
Revealing further details of their encounter, Shivinder’s letter read: “Angered seeing me there, Malvinder attempted to forcibly restrain me and pinned me to the wall choking me. I tried to push him away in self-defence.”
Malvinder, however, refuted the allegations on Friday night. He said Shivinder’s statement was an attempt “to cover up (his) uncouth and unbecoming behaviour”. “This simply reinforces the fact that Shivinder is not equipped to handle professional situations but instead is a hindrance in recovering dues owed to the group,” Malvinder said.
Meanwhile, fresh trouble knocked the doors of the former Fortis promoters as the Delhi High Court on Friday said it expected Religare Enterprises to file a police complaint against the two for defrauding the company.
Religare moved the court, alleging that the Singh brothers, in their capacity as promoters of Religare Enterprises, had siphoned off money from the company by issuing non-convertible redeemable preference share (NCRPS) for themselves and later redeeming them. About Rs 4.25 billion had been siphoned off by the two brothers, Religare said in its petition.
The court also asked the company to submit an affidavit with details of the board of directors of that time, besides various transaction details.
In September, the younger brother had approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), seeking its orders to remove Malvinder from the board of RHC Holding. In his petition, Shivinder had alleged that Malvinder and a former company executive, Sunil Godhwani, were involved in oppression and mismanagement of RHC, Religare and Fortis.
The case, though later withdrawn on the insistence of their ailing mother, follows a scathing letter written by Shivinder against his elder brother.
The recent spat, however, clouds the prospects of an out-of-court settlement between the two. In his letter on Friday, Shivinder noted, “It has been clear to me for some time that Malvinder and I cannot work together. The gulf between our value systems is clearly too wide. This latest incident closes all options for any possible solution to work together.”
Both brothers, however, have refrained from filing police complaints following intervention of family members.
Clarifying the reasons for which he parted ways with his brother, Shivinder said it was his elder brother’s actions that had led to the Daiichi arbitration case, which was “one of the most damaging arbitration cases in the history of India Inc”.
“I took public retirement to my spiritual home, Beas, to serve my master, in 2015, leaving the thriving company I founded in ‘trusted’ hands. And in a period of less than two years, it has moved towards disintegration and ruin of a national healthcare asset,” he said.