Daiichi case: thwarted in SC, Singhs may return to Singapore courts

The brothers Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, having exhausted the Indian legal system without success in the Daiichi Sankyo case, on Friday said they are ''evaluating the option to challenge the majority arbitration award in Singapore courts''.

 
Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh  

This came after the Supreme Court dismissed their plea challenging Delhi High Court's order allowing Japanese drug maker Daiichi Sankyo to enforce a foreign arbitration award of Rs3,500 crore ($546 million) in connection with its purchase of the Singh brothers' stake in Ranbaxy Laboratories.

The Delhi High Court last month said the Singapore tribunal's award was enforceable in India.

The apex court's decision on Friday means the only way left for the brothers to escape the liability is to pursue their challenge to the original ruling in Singapore.

''We can only say: wish you all the best for Singapore,'' Justice Ranjan Gogoi said when delivering the two-judge bench's verdict.

 ''We respect today's ruling by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India,'' said RHC Holdings in an emailed statement. ''However, we are disappointed by the decision.''

The holding company owns assets of the Singh brothers, including listed entities Fortis Healthcare and Religare Enterprises.

The top court's decision sets up the endgame in a legal saga that started in 2012 when Daiichi initiated the Singapore proceedings with allegations the brothers concealed key information in the 2008 sale of their generic drug company.

RHC Holdings in its statement reiterated there was no misrepresentation or concealment in the deal. ''The Hon'ble Court decided not to go into the merits of the majority arbitration award,'' it added.

The ruling ''clears the way'' for the award to be executed and for Daiichi to recover the money, Amit Misra of P&A Law Office, which represents the Japanese company in the case, said in a statement.

Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court on 7 February 7 after the Delhi High Court allowed Daiichi to enforce an arbitral award of Rs3,500 crore.

RHC Holdings said it believes it has been wronged in the majority Singapore arbitration award.

''The case has hurt and crippled our entire group. We would now like to fight for our Justice and Pride at this point and not for economics only,'' it said.

"These are false accusations made against the respondents four years after Daiichi Sankyo bought Ranbaxy Laboratories (after around 9-10 months of due-diligence),'' RHC Holdings said.

RHC Holdings claimed that the products made by Ranbaxy had always been of good quality, which even the US Food and Drugs Administration maintained in their statements, and hence the products continued to sell in the US.

''Despite all the accusations by Daiichi Sankyo, they made profit from the sale in 2015, which is a clear indication of an intrinsic value of Ranbaxy,'' the holding firm added.

The two-judge SC bench, consisting of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R Banumathi, dismissed petitions filed the Singh brothers against Delhi High Court's order.

''We are not inclined to interfere,'' said Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

In April 2016, an arbitration tribunal in Singapore had ruled in favour of Daiichi, directing the Singh brothers to pay around Rs2,563 crore in damages, plus interest of 4.44 per cent per year from November 7, 2008 till the date of the award.

The tribunal found the brothers guilty of making false claims in a self-assessment report and of fraudulently misrepresenting and concealing the ''genesis, nature and severity of the US regulatory investigations'' of Ranbaxy when Daiichi bought their 34.82 per cent stake for $2.4 billion in 2008.