The escalating >Chettinad family feud has taken a fresh twist with industrialist M.A.M. Ramaswamy declaring on Tuesday that he had disowned his adopted son M.A.M.R. Muthiah (also known as Ayyappan).
The 84-year-old scion of the Chettinad family of industrialists said: "It is fit to terminate the adoption relationship in our community as the adoption was against the mandatory custom."
“I have disowned him, and do not wish to call him my son. Whatever the law may be, he is no more my son. According to me, he can be only S. Ayyappan and not M A M R Muthiah. When I die, he should not light the funeral pyre,” Mr Ramaswamy, said sitting on the chair on which the Duke of Edinburgh had sat during his visit to the Chettinad Palace.
"A substantial part of my properties is now with him (Mr. Ayyapan). As I always cherished charitable activities, I have decided that every bit of what is left with me should also go to charity," he said in written statement. The remaining properties that were left with him would be transferred to two newly-formed trusts - Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy Chettiar of Chettinad Charitable Trust and Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy Chettiar Trust, he said. These trusts would be run by Mr .Ramaswamy’s cousin and SPIC Group’s Chairman Emeritus, A.C. Muthiah, and other members of the Chettiar community. Certain properties had already been transferred to these trusts, he added.
Fielding a ranging of questions with felicity and candidness at a press conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Ramaswamy said, “I cherish charity and philanthropy, and he (Ayyappan) is stingy and mean. This is the root cause.”
“I have written and registered a will that all the assets which may be left at the time of my death would go only to the said trusts and not MAMR Muthiah or anyone claiming on his behalf or under him,” he said.
Mr. Ayyappan was adopted in 1996 by Mr. Ramaswamy and his wife Sigappi Aachi. “We adopted him without following the mandatory customs of the Nattukuottai Nagarathar community,” he said adding that Mr. Muthiah (rechristined so after adoption) had not performed the annual rituals for his mother. “As per the Nagarathar customs, he is expected to perform annual rituals and he has not done it. This has emotionally affected me,” Mr. Ramaswamy said.
Mr. Ramaswamy was upset that he had not received any interest payment for a deposit that he had made in Chettinad Cements. “I have not received any interest payment or the principal amount,” he said. He also felt sad that drugs which were sent to him from Chettinad Health City had been stopped by Mr. Ayyappan. Pointing out to his personal attendant, the philanthropist, who founded the hospital, said, “You can ask him. I buy my medicines from a local pharmacy.”
The man, who arguably posses the world’s best race horses, felt saddened that even the animals were not spared by Mr. Ayyappan. He accused Mr. Ayyappan of illegally reducing the area of the stud farm at Ponneri to 30 acres as against 120 acres and erecting a huge wall preventing the movement of the horses. One of the horses had crashed into the wall and died, Mr Ramaswamy said with a tinge of sadness.
Mr. A.C. Muthiah, who was present at the meeting to lend his support on this issue, said, “Ayyappan tried to meet me but I refused.”