Calcutta HC ruling in Birla-Lodha dispute

A Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court comprising Chief Justice J N Patel and Justice Soumitra Pal, on Thursday, delivered an order in respect of the ongoing ownership dispute between the Birlas and Lodha. The Court directed the administrators of the late Priyamvada Birla’s estate to protect her assets. The Court, however, has granted a four-week stay on operation of its order on a plea by the counsels of Lodhas. The case has its genesis in the dispute over a will left behind by the widow of M. P. Birla, on her death in July 2004, bequeathing all her properties to Rajendra Lodha, chartered accountant and a former trusted lieutenant of the Birlas. As soon as the now-deceased Rajendra Singh Lodha applied for the probate of the will, the Birla clan closed ranks to challenge it, seeking probate over two earlier mutual wills. In March 2008, the Birlas had applied for appointment of administrators. The texture of the entire case changed somewhat after the sudden death of R. S. Lodha in October 2008.

Meanwhile, the Court appointed a committee of three administrators — C. K. Thakkar, former Judge of the Supreme Court, M. K. Sharma (former vice-chairman of Hindustan Lever and ex-director of Birla Corporation — the M. P. Birla Group flagship) and A. C. Chakraborti (former partner of Ernst & Young). While Mr. Sharma is a nominee of H. V. Lodha (son of late R. S. Lodha), Mr. Chakraborty is a Birla nominee, and retired Justice Thakkar is a Court nominee. The powers of this committee were not decided then.

This is what was decided on Thursday and the court held that the administrators would be entitled to all the rights as a shareholder in respect of shares which formed part of her estate.

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Printable version | Jul 23, 2021 9:38:11 PM |

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