Fortis Healthcare co-founder Shivinder Singh on Thursday decided to withdraw the case he had filed against his brother Malvinder Singh at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), and agreed to try to solve the dispute with mediation from family elders.
Their mother, Nimmi Singh, bedridden since suffering a stroke last year, played peacemaker between the brothers. Sources said she had stopped eating for the past few days and had constantly been making calls and sending emails to the two brothers.
She may have avoided a legal tangle for her family at least for now, but sources close to Shivinder claimed he was not very hopeful of the negotiations yielding results. If talks failed, another court case might be in the offing.
The younger brother, sources said, had in the past tried several times to have elders intervene and put some pressure on Malvinder on matters of business over which the duo did not agree. Such efforts have seldom met with success.
“Being the younger of the two, he was not taken very seriously,” claimed a source.
When Shivinder finally decided to move court against his brother, accusing Malvinder of forging his wife Aditi Singh’s signature and conducting illegal financial transactions, some members of family felt had he done this earlier, perhaps Fortis could have been saved, said a source.
“In such matters, it is best to hold a talk, let the liabilities for the historical part be fixed with those responsible, and work out what needs to be done to fix things in the future. Many matters would need joint efforts. In courts, things can take many years to resolve,” said someone close to Shivinder.
This time, apart from the two brothers, their uncles (at least a couple of them) are supposed to get involved in the talks. Shivinder has communicated a deadline that he has in mind for the process. If things do not move towards a mutually agreed-to resolution, the younger brother is likely to take legal action again.
Nimmi Singh is at the Radha Soami Satsang Beas ashram in Amritsar; the brothers are in Delhi. Her cousin, Gurinder Dhillon, is the current guru of the ashram. The family would decide when and where to meet and discuss. As of now, the NCLT's principal Bench will be hearing the withdrawal application on Friday.
Ranjana Roy Gawai, counsel for Shivinder, said, “Their mother wants the matter to be sorted out of court, within the family with elders ironing out issues between the brothers. Hence, Shivinder plans to withdraw his application.”
The petition read, “That out of respect for their mother, the parties have already started mediation and as per the request of the mediators to constructively progress the mediation, the petitioners wish to withdraw the captioned petition, without prejudice to their rights and contention.”
Shivinder had filed a case in the NCLT against his brother Malvinder and Sunil Godhwani, a former senior executive of Religare in the first week of September.
Shivinder and Aditi Singh had alleged that Malvinder and Godhwani had conducted matters in RHC Holding, a company where both brothers have equal stakes through their respective investment arms (Shivi Holdings and Malav Holdings), in a manner which had put RHC and its subsidiaries in an “unsustainable debt trap”.
Shivinder’s counsel has petitioned that the debt-equity ratio has not been maintained in RHC because of which, it could not achieve 'meaningful progress' with the investors for sale of stake of RHC in Fortis Healthcare or Religare Enterprises (REL) by the end of the year 2017.
The tribunal had said status quo should be maintained on the shareholding and board of RHC Holding. The matter was to come up for hearing on October 9.