Calcutta High Court
Calcutta High Court
Photo Credit: calcuttahighcourt.gov.in

Harsh Vardhan Lodha on Monday filed an appeal before a division bench of the Calcutta High Court challenging a single bench order that restrained him from holding any office in any of the entities of M P Birla Group during pendency of a suit over succession of the M P Birla Estate.

Challenging the verdict, Lodha claimed that the estate is conclusively defined by the inventory of assets unanimously prepared by joint administrators and produced in court in 2013.

He claimed that based on that definition, the estate is a minority shareholder, even after considering its indirect holding through investment companies, in all four manufacturing firms within the larger promoter group.

The appeal said that Friday's verdict sees Priyamvada Devi, the deceased wife of M P Birla, as a "single individual promoter", which Lodha claimed is absurd.

The appeal is likely to be heard by a division bench of the high court later this week.

The single bench, in a judgement over administering the estate by a court-appointed committee through majority decision, also restrained the Lodhas from drawing any benefit personally from out of the assets of the estate of Priyamvada Devi during pendency of the Testamentary Suit over the assets of the M P Birla group.

Justice Shahidullah Munshi restrained the Lodhas from interfering with the decisions of the court-appointed Administrative Pendente Lite (APL) committee and any decision which might be taken by it in future by majority if the same directly or indirectly relates to the estate of the deceased.

The appeal claimed that the verdict fails to make distinction between Harsh Vardhan Lodha as director of an MP Birla group company and Harsh Vardhan Lodha as proponent of the will, contrary to directions made by the same court in 2016.

The court is also hearing a probate application by Harsh Vardhan, whose late father R S Lodha had claimed that Priyamvada Devi Birla bequeathed her estate, comprising the M P Birla Group, to him through a will.

The Birlas, one of the oldest industrial groups in the country, have challenged the probate application by R S Lodha family and they have been involved in a legal battle over the control of M P Birla estate since the death of Priyamvada Devi Birla in 2004.

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