The Singh brothers have been trying hard to maintain a public display of harmony for a long time. The cookie finally crumbled late Tuesday, with younger brother Shivinder, former Fortis Healthcare promoter, moving the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), accusing his elder brother, Malvinder, of “oppression” and mismanagement of RHC Holding, Religare and Fortis.
In an emotional statement, Shivinder also said he is dissociating with his elder brother as a business partner and will pursue an independent path. Shivinder has also filed a case against family friend the former head of Religare Sunil Godhwani. Shivinder said the action was long overdue but was delayed in the “fond hope” that better sense would eventually prevail and another “ugly chapter of family feud would not be written in our family business’ glorious history.”
Claiming that sensitivity towards his family’s business reputation stopped him from making any public statements so far, Shivinder said, “My family reputation kept me a silent spectator, as I mutely watched the organisation I founded come to a point where it was publicly auctioned; where my family and myself have been stripped of our legacy, our finances and my personal credibility.”
In a statement titled “Shivinder breaks his silence”, the younger of the Singh brothers has said this release comes in the aftermath of the legal and financial issues surrounding their joint companies. He went on to claim that while for two decades now, Malvinder and he have been synonymous with one another, the fact is, he (Shivinder) has all along been the publicly supportive younger brother to Malvinder’s chairmanship of the group, who took decisions on behalf of the family.
He pointed at the “decisions taken in Religare’s non-banking finance arm; the transaction and subsequent management of the sale of the group’s then flagship — Ranbaxy to Daiichi, culminating in one of the most damaging arbitration cases in the history of India Inc, the unimaginable losses accumulated in running a private charter airline business (Ligare aviation)”, claiming that all these only go to show the malaise is systemic.
Shivinder also noted that he took a public retirement in 2015 to his “spiritual home, Beas” leaving the “thriving company” he founded in “trusted” hands and in a period of less than two years, it has moved towards disintegration and ruin of a national health care asset. While the group businesses were in “competent” hands, red flags have crept up in the group with disturbing regularity, he claimed.
The Singh brothers have been consistently embroiled in controversy in the past few years, leading to India’s stock market regulator launching investigations into financial irregularities in their companies.
They sold Ranbaxy to Japanese pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo in 2008. Soon after, the US Food and Drug Administration raised questions about Ranbaxy's manufacturing practices and quality. Although the Singhs denied the allegations at that time, eventually Daiichi won an arbitration award against the Singhs in a Singapore arbitration tribunal. Allegations of the brothers siphoning off funds from the healthcare entity Fortis too surfaced. The controversies led to them stepping down from the Fortis board earlier this year. Experts said the latest twist in the ongoing legal woes of the Singh brothers could strengthen the hands of Daichii Sankyo in the battle for the arbitration award.