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Fortis co-founder sues brother as Indian empire unravels

Fortis Healthcare's Shivinder Singh is suing Malvinder for alleged 'oppression and mismanagement' of their firms


ONE of the most dramatic unravelings of an Indian business empire took an unexpected turn as Shivinder Singh, one of the founders of Fortis Healthcare Ltd, said he has sued brother Malvinder for alleged "oppression and mismanagement" of their companies.

Mr Shivinder, in a statement dated Sep 4, said he filed a case with India's National Company Law Tribunal against Mr Malvinder and Sunil Godhwani, former chairman of the Singhs' financial services company Religare Enterprises Ltd.

He alleges that the pair were to blame for "a systematic undermining of the interests of the companies and their shareholders".

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Mr Malvinder and Mr Godhwani couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

"It has come to a point where this means that I am now disassociating from my brother as a business partner and will be pursuing an independent path," Mr Shivinder wrote in the statement.

Bloomberg News couldn't immediately obtain the case filing from the tribunal, which couldn't be reached outside of regular business hours.

Heirs to a generations-old business house once worth billions, the brothers have in recent months seen a dramatic fall in their fortunes.

They've had their public shareholdings seized by lenders.

They're under a criminal probe by financial authorities over 23 billion rupees (S$442 million) missing from their listed companies.

They owe US$500 million over fraud allegations related to the 2008 sale of drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories.

The Singhs have previously denied any wrongdoing.

They expanded their two public firms, hospital operator Fortis Healthcare and financial firm Religare, at breakneck speed after reaping US$2 billion from the Ranbaxy sale.

India's stock market and fraud regulators have launched investigations into financial irregularities at Religare and Fortis, although they have yet to report their findings. BLOOMBERG