None of the directors responded to the questionnaires

Were Ranbaxy’s directors AWARE of the malpractices

The board of directors is said to be the brain of a company; independent directors are said to be its conscience keepers.

Business Standard assesses how the board, especially independent directors, of beleaguered drug major Ranbaxy Laboratories functioned during the period when its manufacturing practices came Canada Goose Jackets under a cloud in 2004.

True canada goose store to its stature as India’s flag bearer in the international pharmaceutical scene, the company had eminent people from all walks canada goose clearance of life on its board.

Canada Goose sale During the period, the Ranbaxy board had eight independent directors, including then chairman Tejendra Khanna, now Delhi’s lieutenant governor. Canada Goose sale

The other independent directors were DCM family scion Vivek Bharat Ram, Gurcharan Das, senior cardiologist P S Joshi, ace investment banker Nimesh N Kampani, consultant Vivek Mehra, senior lawyer Surendra Daulet Singh canadian goose jacket and foreign trade expert J W Balani.

For Ranbaxy, 2004 was significant in more ways than one: It was the year when Davinder Singh Brar, chief executive officer Canada Goose sale and managing director, decided to hang up his boots, after completing his five year tenure on July 4.

Brar was succeeded by Brian W Tempest. The year also saw promoter and key shareholder Malvinder Mohan Singh, who had earlier held the post of director (global licensing) and who had led India operations as regional director, succeeding Tempest as president (pharmaceuticals).

Canada Goose online Weeks before Brar left, another significant change took place: In June 2004, Rashmi Barbhaiya, president (research and development, or R since April 15, 2002, left the company to pursue other professional options. Canada Goose online

uk canada goose outlet This put Rajinder Kumar at the helm of R In the few months he was there, Kumar triggered a $550 million time bomb that would go off about nine years later. uk canada goose outlet

Whistleblower Dinesh Thakur, Kumar’s subordinate at Ranbaxy, would, years later, claim his boss had made a detailed presentation of the alleged widespread manufacturing lapses and fudging of data in the company first to “a closed door board of directors meeting in Thailand” in September 2004 and then to the science committee on December 21, 2004.

canada goose coats on sale While Kumar has been silent on the events, Ranbaxy has pleaded guilty to several charges by the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), based on Thakur’s testimony. canada goose coats on sale

canada goose black friday sale While it is difficult to ascertain what happened Canada Goose Parka during and after those two critical meetings, Ranbaxy’s annual report for the year records Kumar left due to “unforeseen personal problems”. canada goose black friday sale

This means Kumar quit within 10 days of the science committee meeting held on December 21. It is difficult to fathom such eminent board members did cheap Canada Goose not find anything amiss.

There is confusion over the board’s September “closed door meeting”, following Malvinder Singh’s comment that no board meeting was held in Thailand and the fact that the annual report doesn’t have records canada goose of a board meeting in September.

canada goose uk black friday However, the science committee meeting canada goose coats is duly recorded in the annual report; it was attended by P S Joshi and Tejendra Khanna, independent directors, as well as Malvinder Mohan Singh and Brian Tempest. canada goose uk black friday

canada goose clearance sale The annual report adds, “In the resulting situation, Tempest, CEO MD (chief executive officer and managing director), took it upon himself to closely oversee the R activities directly, with separate heads for new drug discovery research on the one hand, and for novel drug delivery systems (NDDS) and generic drugs development on the other, reporting to him.” canada goose clearance sale

canadian goose jacket However, Ranbaxy did not announce the departure of its R head for months. On March 11, 2005, canada goose coats on sale the company, in a statement, said it had “reluctantly canada goose deals agreed buy canada goose jacket to his request due to personal circumstances. In due course, he will be invited to join Ranbaxy’s R advisory council”. canadian goose jacket

Brian Tempest said, “We acknowledge the role Rajinder Kumar has played in institutionalising the R regimen, and in particular, the clinical processes at Ranbaxy.”

Canada Goose Online According to a Business Line news report, that day the Ranbaxy stock fell 1.23 per Canada Goose online cent on the BSE, closing at Rs 1,069.5. Canada Goose Online

canada goose clearance The report quoted an analyst saying, “While the company has been talking about focusing on R the frequent movement of scientists sends contrary signals.” canada goose clearance

So, what happened between December 2004, when the annual report records Kumar’s exit, and March 11, 2005? Did personal circumstances canada goose outlet lead to Kumar’s exit? Or, did his presentation and the response of the board and management cause it?

If the board of directors didn’t have all the details about Kumar’s sudden exit, it should have sought all the details it required to take an informed decision, said a canada goose clearance sale governance expert.

canada goose uk shop On the other hand, if it was privy to the detailed presentation by Kumar, it made a buy canada goose jacket cheap clear attempt to sweep things under the carpet, which amounted to a conspiracy against the stakeholders including the government, consumers and minority shareholders. canada goose uk shop

In the annual report for 2004, the directors’ standard disclosure stated, “The directors have taken proper and sufficient care for the maintenance of adequate accounting records, in accordance with the provisions of this Act, for safeguarding the assets of the company and preventing and detecting fraud and other irregularities.”

uk canada goose One of the directors said they were not aware of a fraud at that time, but declined to come on record, as his current organisation wanted to distance itself from the controversy. uk canada goose

buy canada goose jacket cheap Another said even today, he didn’t believe there was a fraud at Ranbaxy. “We knew there were ongoing dialogues with FDA. Such dialogues go on all the time. But this does not mean there was fraud. All the charges by FDA can be challenged in courts. Every company deals with these FDA cases differently. Acceptance of guilt is a necessary condition in a plea bargain. The decision to settle through a plea bargain was a business decision by the new owners. The media is making a mountain out of a molehill,” the former Ranbaxy independent director said. buy canada goose jacket cheap

canada goose factory sale When asked what would happen to the people who used the medicines prepared through questionable practices, he said, “Nothing happened to them.” canada goose factory sale

Business Standard emailed questionnaires to all the independent directors, asking whether they had knowledge about the problems related to drug research, research data and falsification of data and what action did they take on the subject. None of the directors responded to the questionnaires, sent a week in advance.

buy canada goose jacket Offices of Gurcharan Das and Surendra Daulet Singh said they were abroad. A call to Kampani’s mobile phone was answered by his secretary, who promised to revert. Attempts to reach the others on their phones didn’t succeed buy canada goose jacket.