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SC starts hearing in Birla-Lodha case

October 09, 2007 18:48 IST

The Supreme Court on Tuesday started hearing the cross-appeals filed by the Birlas and R S Lodha challenging each other's right to object to late Priyamvada Birla's purported 1999 Will and late M P Birla's 1982 Will, respectively.

Under the 1999 Will, Priyamvada had bequeathed her Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion) estate to her chartered accountant Lodha.

A bench comprising Justice S B Sinha and Justice H S Bedi, which is hearing the matter, had earlier issued notices asking Lodha, the representatives and legal heirs of Late Laxmi Devi Newar, including Nand Gopal Khaitan, to file their replies. The hearing will resume on Wednesday.

The three Birla family members -- K K Birla, B K Birla and Yashovardhan Birla -- had sought caveatable interest in Lodha's probate petition for M P Birla group's assets. The Birlas claim that it is their duty to see that the Priyamvada estate was given to three public charities as designated under the mutual wills executed by M P Birla and Priyamvada in 1982.


Lodha group has filed two new petitions against Birlas' petition.

Lodha has challenged the Calcutta high court's decision upholding the caveatable interest of G P Birla, executor of the purported July 13, 1982 Will of M P Birla and Priyamvada.

According to Lodha, by virtue of being an executor under the mutual Will, G P Birla had no right to oppose the grant of probate of a later Will.

Unless the order with regard to the caveat interest of G P Birla was stayed, "G P Birla will contest the suit as a defendant and thereby cause grave inconvenience and prejudice to the petitioner. The present SLP in that case would also be rendered infructuous", Lodha's petition stated.

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