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Birla-Lodha fight reaches SC

August 12, 2005 17:24 IST

The Birla-Lodha fight over the Rs 5000 crore (Rs 50 billion) empire of M P Birla reached the Supreme Court on Friday when the Lodha group approached it challenging a Calcutta high court order dismissing their petition seeking quashing of a criminal case filed against them by a Birla group employee.

The petition filed by Siva Nath Prasad, who along with R S Lodha, V Gauri Shanker and Sushil Kumar Daga were made accused in the case filed by Rajendra Prasad Pansari from the Birla group, challenged the July 1 order of the high court.

Pansari, working with the M P Birla group since 1977, had filed a complaint before the Alipore Court in Kolkata that after the death of Priyamvada Devi Birla in July 2004, it was found by him that "Lodha had criminally conspired with other accused persons and misappropriated properties worth Rs 2400 crores (Rs 24 billion) vested in five trusts" meant for charitable purposes.

Challenging the high court order, the petition filed through advocate Ankur Chawla stated that the criminal complaint against Lodha should be quashed as it has been filed by a person who has no interest in estate and properties.

The petition said there was further ground for quashing of the complaint as it has been admitted that the complainant was set up by a party, which was participating in civil proceedings relating to similar disputes.

"A criminal complaint filed at the instance of a third party, who is not a beneficiary under the trusts or the will nor has any interest in any of the properties mentioned in the complaint, should be quashed on the ground of abuse of the process of law," it said.
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