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Samara Capital files winding-up petition against Guardian Lifecare
Posted On: 19-02-2016 00:00:00 16

As per a report in Economic Times

Samara Capital has filed a winding up petition against Guardian Lifecare, a pharma retail chain owned by Ashutosh Garg.

In 2008, Samara Capital invested about Rs 60 crore to buy an undisclosed stake in Garg-promoted cash-and-carry venture Guardian Nutrition and that company supplied to Guardian-branded pharma store chain that is owned by Garg and family. Since India did not allow any FDI at that time, Samara in 2008 invested in Guardian Nutrition cash-and-carry, a retailing area where India allowed 100% FDI. Now Samara is accusing Guardian Lifecare for alleged non-payment of dues for supplies made by Samara-owned cash-and carry company Guardian Nutrition.

Guardian Lifecare in turn is accusing the Mauritius-based PE firm of directly controlling and running Guardian retail company in violation of India's foreign investment laws after illegally removing owner Ashutosh Garg from active management of the company.

Both the companies are also fighting another legal case over the ownership of "Guardian" brand name and royalty payments. Legal documents showed tension mounting amid losses at the front-end stores that eventually resulted in the store chain unable to pay dues for the supplies it received from the cash and-carry company. Samara-owned wholesale company has said in its petition in the Delhi High Court that Guardian pharma chain failed to pay Rs 123 crore for supplies and loans extended to Guardian chain.

The petition filed by Samara Capital's Guardian Nutrition says that Garg's company has acknowledged that it owes money to Samara's unit. However, in his reply as per the court documents Garg has said that Samara has been directly managing the retail company since April 2012 and has pointed that it was done in violation of India's FDI laws.

"There is literally hundreds of mails that will establish beyond any doubt that Samara has interfered in the operation of the Guardian since 2009 and exercised complete control over the management of the company from April 1, 2012," Garg accused Samara. "To claim now that they were simply shareholders in the cash-and-carry company and had no role to play in the retail company is completely incorrect."

Garg also says that Samara has "completely destroyed" the business and valuation of Guardian pharma chain ever since they ran it themselves. "It is not our client but Samara who is responsible to pay any dues/affect payments to your clients," lawyers representing Garg said according to the court papers. Court documents show that Garg was also divested of his role as the authorised signatory of bank accounts.


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