HC seeks Singh brothers’ response on Daiichi’s plea to sell Fortis and Religare trademarks

Last Updated 25 June 2020, 12:30 IST

The Delhi High Court has sought response of former Ranbaxy promoters Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder Mohan Singh on a plea by Daiichi Sankyo seeking to attach and sell trademarks of Fortis and Religare and recover the amount due to the Japanese company.

The high court has directed for maintaining status quo on the Religare trademark till July 28.

The high court has been hearing the petition filed by Japanese pharma major Daiichi Sankyo seeking execution of Rs 3,500 crore Singapore tribunal arbitral award passed in its favour and against the Singh brothers, former promoters of Fortis Healthcare, in April 2016.

Justice Rekha Palli, who was conducting the hearing through video conferencing, issued notice to the Singh brothers and others on Daiichi’s application seeking directions to restrain M/s Elive Infotech Private Ltd from creating any third party rights in the Religare trademark, attaching equity shareholding of RHC Holdings Pvt Ltd in Elive Infotech Pvt Ltd.

The application has also sought direction for selling trademarks of Fortis and Religare through a court commissioner and crediting the amount received from the sale of the trademarks to Daiichi towards part satisfaction of the decree.

“In the light of the fact that the Decree Holder (Daiichi) is entitled to recover a substantial sum from the Judgement Debtors (JD) under the award amount, M/s Elive Infotech Private Ltd is directed to maintain status quo, till the next date, with respect to the equity shareholding of JD No. 19 (RHC Holding) and the Religare trademark which were assigned to it by the assessment deed dated November 1, 2017…,” the high court said in its order, which was passed on Wednesday and made available on Thursday.

It also sought response of Malvinder Singh on another application by Daiichi seeking cancellation of an October 2017 gift deed saying he deliberately gifted a sculpture worth Rs 7.59 crore to his minor daughter after the arbitral award was passed.

Senior advocate Arvind Nigam, appearing for Daiichi, said this was a deliberate attempt to deprive the company from enjoying the fruits of the award in its favour.

The counsel said it is pertinent to note that the minor daughter of Malvinder, beneficiary of the gifted sculpture, is arrayed as judgement debtor number 5 in the execution petition.

Advocate Suman yadav, who represented Malvinder, said as he is still in custody, the daughter may be granted two weeks’ time to file a reply which was allowed by the high court.

As Shivinder Singh is also lodged in jail, the high court directed the Tihar Jail superintendent to assist his lawyer to communicate with his client and permit a communication between them through video conferencing for taking instructions on the Daiichi’s application.

The Singh brothers are lodged in jail in connection with a case of alleged misappropriation of funds of Religare Finvest Ltd.

A tribunal in Singapore had passed an arbitral award of Rs 3,500 crore in favour of Daiichi and had ordered the Singh brothers to pay the damages for concealing information that their company was facing probe by the US Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Justice while selling its shares.

On January 31, 2018, the high court had upheld the international arbitral award passed in the favour of Daiichi Sankyo and paved the way for enforcement of the 2016 tribunal award against the brothers who had sold their shares in Ranbaxy to Daiichi Sankyo in 2008 for ₹ 9,576.1 crore. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd had later acquired the company from Daiichi Sankyo.

It had, however, said that the award was not enforceable against five minors, also shareholders in Ranbaxy, saying they cannot be held guilty of having perpetuated a fraud either themselves or through any agent.

Daiichi Sankyo had moved the high court here seeking direction to the brothers to take steps towards paying its ₹ 3,500 crore arbitration award, including depositing the amount. It had also urged the high court to attach their assets, which may be used to recover the award.

On February 16, 2018, the Supreme Court had dismissed Singh brothers’ appeal against the high court verdict upholding the international arbitral award.

Singh brothers’ counsel had argued that the award granted consequential damages which were beyond the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal and the award cannot be enforced under the provision of the Arbitration Act.

They had claimed that Daiichi Sankyo was fully aware of all facts and still chose to retain the Ranbaxy shares, instead of terminating the agreement and returning them.

(Published 25 June 2020, 12:30 IST)

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