Thursday, May 19, 2022

Riches To Rags: How Billionaire Ranbaxy Brothers Malvinder And Shivinder Singh Landed In Jail

The Ranbaxy brothers -- Malvinder and Shivinder Singh -- systematically and deliberately siphoned off huge sums, estimated at Rs 10,000 crore. Most of the money was used to buy real estate

Riches To Rags: How Billionaire Ranbaxy Brothers Malvinder And Shivinder Singh Landed In Jail
Riches To Rags: How Billionaire Ranbaxy Brothers Malvinder And Shivinder Singh Landed In Jail Photograph by Getty Images

  • 1999 Before Parvinder Singh dies at 56, he declares that D.S. Brar, a professional and his right-hand man, will run Ranbaxy; his sons, Malvinder and Shivinder, acquiesce despite a hue and cry by grandfather, Bhai Mohan
  • 2004 Siblings oust Brar in a boardroom coup; Brian Tempest (pic), an old family friend, takes over, and Malvinder joins the board and bides his time
  • 2006 Tempest out, Malvinder in; the latter charts out a new vision for Ranbaxy, reduces dependence on the US markets, and expands in Europe, Asia and Latin America
  • 2006-07 The Ranbaxy brothers allegedly help Gurinder Singh Dhillon, spiritual head of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, his family members and Sunil Godhwani, the Satsang’s funds manager, to make a killing through shares of Religare; the brothers sell 13.5 million shares at Rs 10 each before the IPO, though they were issued to the public at Rs 185
  • 2008 Japan’s Daiichi-Sankyo buys out the Singh brothers’ stake in Ranbaxy for $2 billion; Malvinder and Shivinder convert their assets into cash; Gurinder Singh convinces the brothers to sell out
  • 2009 US FDA bans several Ranbaxy drugs, finds manufacturing deficiencies and data fraud; Daiichi kicks out the two Singh brothers
  • 2009- 2012 The Singh brothers ­expand in ­hospitals (Fortis) and ­finance (Religare); Godhwani handles their ­personal wealth; Singhs take out money from Fortis and Religare to fund real ­estate deals of firms owned by Dhillon, and his family
  • 2013 In a US court, brothers plead guilty to the charge that Ranbaxy sold adulterated drugs, and agree to pay $500 million; Daiichi sells Ranbaxy to Sun Pharma in 2014
  • 2016-17 Singapore tribunal asks Ranbaxy brothers to pay Rs 3,500 crore to Daiichi as the former concealed ­critical information during Ranbaxy’s sale; later, Supreme Court upholds it; Religare alleges ­siphoning off of Rs 740 crore, which is the case in which the brothers are arrested in 2019, and says the total exposure is Rs 2,200 crore; a New York-based investor in Religare files a court case that the brothers ­indulged in “diversion and ­siphoning” of $1.3 billion; Godhwani exits Religare
  • 2018 Malvinder and Shivinder resign from Fortis and Religare groups; SFO and corporate affairs ministry initiate ­investigations into ­financial irregularities; Daiichi charges that Ranbaxy brothers ­siphoned off Rs 2,900 crore from Ranbaxy
  • 2019 Malvinder and Shivinder in jail


Of course, it is about money. But in the case of Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, the two Ranbaxy brothers and billionaire scions who ended up in jail, the narrative goes beyond a simplistic explanation. The sub-plots, which emerge larger than the main one, include personal tussles between family members—father-­son and sibling rivalries—besides ­intense friendships that led to ­greater animosities. Add to this the mysterious veil of spiritual power—both the quest for it, and efforts to retain it.