The Calcutta high court on Thursday set aside a trial court order appointing four administrators to Priyamvada Birla's Rs 5,000-crore (Rs 50 billion) estate, which includes the flagship Birla Corporation and several other companies of the M P Birla group.
A division bench comprising Justice P C Ghose and Justice T K Dutta, while setting aside the order of Justice K J Sengupta appointing the four administrators to the estate, directed Lodha not to sell any part of it or spend any amount from it except for its maintenance.
Disposing of the appeal filed by Lodha against the May 19, 2006, order of Justice Sengupta, the division bench directed that Lodha would have to maintain separate accounts for the business earnings and dealings of the estate.
The estate has been the focus of a bitter legal battle between the Birlas and Lodha since June 2004 immediately after the death of Priyamvada, M P Birla's widow.
Lodha had claimed that the entire assets of M P Birla group had been willed away to him by Priyamvada, through a purported will made in 1999.
The Birlas, however, challenged Lodha's claim in the court contending that the M P Birla group estate was meant for charity and administrators should be appointed to preserve it.
A probate application by Lodha for the estate has been challenged by the Birlas and is pending before the Calcutta high court.