The Supreme Court (SC) has reserved its order on a contempt plea filed by Japanese pharma company Daiichi Sankyo against the Singh brothers over non-payment of Rs 3,500 crore arbitration award. However, the apex court said it was deciding the issue of 'contempt of court' only. During the hearing, Daiichi told the SC that former Ranbaxy promoter Malvinder Singh had given undertaking in the Delhi High Court, and that the value of their "unencumbered assets" was only Rs 452 crore. The company added the Delhi HC-appointed valuer had prepared two reports in this regard. Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, Malvinder Singh's counsel, told the SC that the enforcement proceedings against them were pending before the HC, and that all the bank accounts belonging to Malvinder had been frozen by the court. His counsel told the court he hadn't violated any court orders, and that it was a "civil contempt case".
His brother Shivinder Singh's counsel, PS Patwalaia, told the SC the current contempt being spoken about "arises from not following an interim order". The main case, he said, still remained pending on which interim orders were given by the court. On the allegations of the violation of restraint on dealing with Fortis shares, Malvinder's counsel said: "Didn't violate restraint on dealing with Fortis' shares, Indiabulls did that."
The top court on March 14 had asked the duo to submit a concrete plan for repaying the Japanese firm as well as consult their accountants and financial/legal advisors and appraise it by April 5. But during the hearing on Friday, the bench was miffed at the responses given by the Singh brothers. Malvinder's counsel had told the bench the brothers had been duped and that "nearly Rs 6,300 crore has been siphoned off by some 'baba'", while requesting that properties of the contemnor be sold under the instruction of the court. To this, the bench had responded saying that the court will "only adjudicate on the violation of our orders", adding that they can sell their own properties.
The bench also got irked when Malvinder said that he had not got his properties valued. "How is it possible that you do not know the value of your properties," the bench posed. "You may be owning half of the world but there is no concrete plan as to how the arbitral amount would be realised. You said that somebody owed you Rs 6,000 crore. But this is neither here nor there."
Shivinder's counsel had said he wanted two years' time to work with Daiichi so that valuation of the companies can get better and the arbitral award can be honoured. That's a U-turn from his previous stand in court where he had claimed that he was not at the helm of affairs for some time as he had taken 'sanyaas' (renunciation) from the world.
Edited by Manoj Sharma