MUMBAI/CHENNAI: In a relief to Batelco Group, Bahrain based global telecoms company, the Madras High Court has directed serial investor Chinnakannan Sivasankaran, his relatives and his flagship company Siva Ltd not to sell or to create any third party rights on some of their Indian assets until February 22. The values of these movable and immovable assets are around Rs 500 crore (about $74 million).
case was filed by the BMIC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Batelco as per
the ruling - decree in legal parlance - of the UK court of June 2014,
which had directed Sivasankaran popularly known as Siva and his
affiliates to pay up around $212 million. According to Batelco, that UK
Judgment made it mandatory for Siva to payback the entire outstanding
sum by 26 June 2014 but till date he has have failed to comply.
Group...has successfully obtained today Indian freezing orders from the
Madras High Court against certain Indian assets of Sivasankaran and his
relatives including former wife Jayalakshmi Sivasankaran, his parents
RCK Vallal and Chinnakannan Chandrammal and his associates Baskaran,
Nithyavathi Venkatesan and his related company, Siva Limited," said a
released issued by Batelco.
The genesis of the disputes lies in
the cancellation of telecom licenses by the Supreme Court in 2012. BMIC
had originally acquired 42.7% stake in S Tel in 2009, a year after the
company won a 2G licence. Siva was the other principal shareholder in
the company. Following the cancellation of 2G licenses of the company
along with other 121 operators by the Apex Court, BMIC sought to
implement a put option under the agreement to get his investment back.
As per the agreement between the two parties, it was decided that if
there are circumstances like cancellation of S Tel's licenses or failure
to secure debt finance, Siva will have to buy back the shares acquired
by BMIC at the original paid price. However, Siva failed to do so, which
led Batelco launching legal proceedings.
"We fully expect all of
the respondents to honour the Indian Court Orders and pay to BMIC the
monies owing to it under the UK judgement," said Ihab Hannawi, Group CEO
of Batelco in a release. "We will pursue all legal avenues available to
us against such parties to secure this outstanding payment."
sources close to Siva says Batelco has no locus standi to file a case
against him in Madras High Court as he is not an Indian citizen. C
Sivasankaran's relatives will contest the case in the Madras High Court
when the case comes up for hearing next, according to those aware of the
Batelco also claimed that the Indian businessman had
conveniently timed his divorce property settlement with his former wife
in Seychelles just before the UK court passed an order and he
transferred properties of around $100 million for no consideration on
his wife's name. The same properties are under dispute.
argued in the court that Siva had petitioned the Supreme Court of
Seychelles for an order that he be declared 'bankrupt', in July 2014;
soon after the UK Judgment went against him. They argued that Siva had
created an extensive network of companies in India and is currently
operating through them, with the active aid and support of his related
associates, so as to avoid making payment of significant monies owed to
his outstanding creditors, in particular BMIC. On 26 August 2014, the
Supreme Court of Seychelles declared Mr Siva as an Insolvent/Bankrupt
and permitted him to be released from such bankruptcy, despite protests
from BMIC to do otherwise.