Top court denies nod to Singh brothers for selling Fortis shares
Shivinder Singh and Malvinder Singh | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to allow Fortis Healthcare Ltd promoters Malvinder and Shivinder Singh to sell their stake in the hospital chain, in a blow to the brothers' efforts to find a buyer for the company.

A division bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha also directed YES Bank Ltd and Axis Bank Ltd, which hold the company’s mortgaged shares, to not sell those securities until further orders. The matter will now come up for hearing on 23 October, the court’s website shows.

Earlier, YES Bank and Axis Bank had approached the court to seek its permission to sell shares of the company pledged with them.

The court’s direction continues an 11 August decision that had restrained the brothers from selling their stake in Fortis.

The court has been hearing a case filed in July by Japanese drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo Company Ltd against the Singh brothers and their investment companies. This case is related to a separate case where Daiichi Sankyo has accused the Singh brothers of concealing facts when they sold their stake in erstwhile Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd to the Japanese company in 2008.

The drugmaker says the brothers are in contempt of court by trying to sell their assets even after the Delhi High Court told them not to do so.

Daiichi had acquired Ranbaxy in 2008 for almost $4.6 billion and sold it to Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd for about $3.2 billion in 2014. The Japanese company had also approached the Singapore International Arbitration Centre against the Singh brothers seeking compensation for concealing the fact that the company was being probed by US Foods and Drug Administration at the time of the transaction.

In May last year, the Singapore arbitration court ordered the Singh brothers to pay Rs 2,563 crore to Daiichi for allegedly hiding information about Ranbaxy. The brothers were also asked to pay an additional Rs 950 crore as interest and other expenses to Daiichi.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi and Arvind Datar along with advocate Rohan Jaitley are representing Daiichi Sankyo in the Supreme Court. Singh brothers and their companies are being represented by senior counsel Rajiv Nayar along with senior partners of the law firm DMD Advocates, Anuradha Dutt and Vijayalakshmi Menon, in the case.

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