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Birla case: SC declines early hearing

March 26, 2007 12:43 IST
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to expedite hearing on a petition filed by three Birla family members, who have challenged the Calcutta High Court's order that refused them right to object to the purported 1999 'will' of late Priyamvada Birla.

A bench headed by Justice B P Singh, while refusing to give early date of hearing to the petitioners K K Birla, B K Birla and Yashovardhan Birla, said that the matter will be taken up in due course.

Senior counsel Arun Jaitley was arguing on behalf of the Birlas, who have objected to the 1999 will under which late Priyamvada Birla bequeathed her Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion) estate to her chartered accountant R S Lodha.

Lodha's counsel Indra Jaisinghania sought dismissal of the petition, saying the petitioners had no caveatable interest in the case.

A division bench of the Calcutta High Court had, on December 21, 2006, upheld a single bench's order as well as an earlier lower court's verdict that three Birla family members had no caveatable interest in Lodha's probate petition for the M P Birla group's assets.

The High Court, however, had upheld the caveatable interest of another Birla family member, G P Birla, executor of the purported July 13, 1982 will of M P Birla and his wife Priyamvada.

It also upheld the appointment of Yashovardhan Birla as executor of the will, rejecting Lodha's appeal. Lodha, a chartered accountant, had in 2004 declared that the entire Birla estate had been bequeathed to him by Priyamvada Birla, who died in July that year, leaving behind no heir, through a will of 1999.

For the execution of this purported will, Lodha has filed a probate petition in different courts.
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