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NRI Businessman Siva Defaults On $212 Million Batelco Dues

C. Sivasankaran, called Siva in business circles, stood guarantee for investments made by Batelco into S Tel in May 2009, whose license was cancelled by the Supreme Court along with 121 other operators in the now infamous 2G scam.

CHENNAI – Maverick NRI businessman, C. Sivasankaran has defaulted $212 million to his bellicose partner Batelco, as ordered by an English court. The Bahraini partner has now obtained a court decree, freezing all assets of Sivasankaran globally.

Sivasankaran, called Siva in business circles, stood guarantee for investments made by Batelco into S Tel in May 2009, whose license was cancelled by the Supreme Court along with 121 other operators in the now infamous 2G scam.

Batelco and Millenium PE fund entered into an agreement to invest $225 million ($175 million by Batelco and the rest by the fund) in 2009. Millenium PE backed out of the deal. Batelco ended up with a 42.7% stake in S Tel.

Batelco had announced it was selling its stake in S Tel back to Siva, in exercise of its `put` option. In October 2011, both Batelco and Siva agreed on the buy-back, on the condition that Siva would transfer nearly 79 million Tata Tele shares that he owned to Batelco, valuing them at $174.50 million. The deadline to conclude the transaction of transfer of shares was October 31, 2012.

But when Siva failed to transfer the shares before the October 2012 deadline, the Bahraini telecom firm launched legal proceedings.

Siva had to pay up $212 million by June 26. “However neither Sivasankaran nor Siva Ltd has complied with the court’s order as no payment has yet been made. BMIC (a Batelco unit) approached the English High Court on July 16, and successfully obtained a worldwide freezing order against the defendants’ assets globally and requiring Sivasankaran to give disclosure of his assets. It is Batelco’s intention to take whatever enforcement action it considers appropriate against the defendants for full payment of the full judgment amount,” a Batelco statement said.

Sivasankaran was out of the country and could not be reached for a comment.

Of the several telecom joint ventures which ran into rough weather due to the Supreme Court ruling, S Tel is the only case whereby a refund has been ordered by an international court. No other promoter has stood guarantee for any investment.

Siva will be remembered as the one who unleashed the price war to gain business traction. Siva’s turbo charged bull run which started off in the telecom space 1998 has been short-circuited due to policy issues, legal wrangles and the absence of managerial bandwidth.

pob� h����saga of Komagata Maru into school curriculum. Once the authorities agree to this, well respected local historians like Sohan Singh Pooni, Dr.Hugh Johnston and many others should be requested to take on the task. In a sense, the Komagata Maru episode is a landmark for our community. Thus, it is only appropriate to make it a part of our children’s school curriculum.

Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist.

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