Fortis Healthcare has turned to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) seeking the arrest of former promoters Malvinder and Shivinder Singh in connection with the over Rs 400 crore allegedly siphoned off from the company. India’s second largest hospital has been unable to extract the funds, which were taken out of the company through inter-corporate deposits (ICDs) to firms that were subsequently found to be linked to the brothers.
Sebi in October 2018 found the diversion of these funds to be “fraudulent” in nature following a preliminary investigation, ordering the Singhs to repay this amount by January 2019. Fortis, earlier this month, wrote to the markets regulator asking the regulator to initiate “appropriate” action under Section 28A to recover dues to the tune of nearly Rs495 crore, including interest, according to a source directly aware of the development.
“Parties failed to make payment, and therefore, in compliance with the Sebi order, an Application under section 28 A of Sebi Act has been filed praying for recovery as well as directions against the aforesaid entities,” confirmed Fortis chairman Ravi Rajagopal.
Fortis Healthcare and subsidiary Fortis Hospitals Ltd have issued demand notices to the Singhs and companies controlled by them to
“jointly and severally pay an amount of Rs 476 crore along with applicable interest thereon,” according to him.
According to the source cited earlier, as on February 13, Fortis was seeking recovery of Rs403 crore, while the interest was around Rs 91.85 crore.
“Seeking invocation of S. 28A of the Sebi Act when a final order has not been passed in the matter, and when I have not had a chance to review or respond to Fortis’ own investigation report which I have requested and not received till date, strikes me as premature, unfair and against the principles of natural justice,” Shivinder Singh said in an emailed response to queries sent by The Indian Express.
“Since September 2015 — after stepping down from all executive positions in Fortis — my position was no more than that of every other non-executive board member of
Fortis. Just like the other board members, I was also kept in the dark regarding these transactions,” he said.
“These decisions on ICDs were taken after my retirement and I had no role to play in their planning or execution. Even Fortis is well aware of these facts and my role on this matter. It would be grossly un-just to hold me responsible for decisions and actions taken by others who were in a position of responsibility and power,” he added.
Singh stated that he has “cooperated” in “all” his interactions with Sebi and other agencies and made his position clear in “detailed written and oral submissions which establish my innocence”.
An email sent to Malvinder Singh remained unanswered by press time on Monday.
The firms to which the ICDs were made — Best Healthcare, Fern Healthcare and Modland Wears — were mentioned in a complaint filed by Malvinder Singh at the Economic Offences Wing against brother Shivinder, Radha Soami Satsang spiritual head Gurinder Singh Dhillon and others, including ex-Religare chief Sunil Godhwani.
Singh had alleged that his brother had used the Singhs’ holding firm RHC to acquire these companies without due diligence and siphon funds in order to adjust the spiritual leader’s debt.