The Calcutta high court on Friday served a notice on the Birlas after entertaining the probate application of R S Lodha by the Registrar-in-insolvency in connection with the controversial will of late Priyamvada Birla, highly placed sources said in Kolkata.
Even as the high court notice was served on the Birlas, The Statesman, carried Priyamvada Birla's last will and testament in its July 23 edition.
The will is reproduced hereunder:
1. I, Priyamvada Devi Birla, aged about seventy-one years residing at Birla Park, 18, Gurusaday Road, Calcutta 19, hereby make this last Will and Testament on this auspicious day on Akshaytritya, i.e. the 18th of April 1999. Any Will made prior to this date stands cancelled.
2. I make this Will and Testament in full possession of my sincere and good health with a full and complete understanding of the dispositions, directions and statements made herein.
3. God Almighty has showered his grace on me and my late beloved husband Syt. Madhav Prasad Birla and made us instruments for working on his Will, for serving the nation in the industrial and economic arena and for providing education, health and employment opportunities for the needy.
Conscious of this after the demise of my beloved husband Syt. Madhav Prasad Birla, I am running the business concerns and managing the properties and institutions bequeathed to me in the true and sincere spirit of a trustee for the larger benefit of the country and in the interest of the shareholders and workers.
4. I have no heir either natural or adopted. Therefore to continue the administration of all the businesses, properties, rights and interests after my death, I, by this Will and Testament nominate Shri Rajendra S. Lodha (son of the late Jaswant Singhji Lodha and presently residing at 8, National Tower, 13 Loudon Street, Calcutta - 17) a devoted friend of the family and a Chartered Accountant of repute to take over the management, administration, financial, legal and every other aspect relevant to complete ownership, control and full management of all the businesses and properties possessed or owned by me either directly or indirectly and the entire right title and interest of all of which.
I hereby bequeath to him the following directions (i) He will exercise all powers, rights, duties and responsibilities in respect of the business concerns, properties and institutions to the extent I have been exercising.
(ii) He will take such steps as are necessary for overseeing of and the control and management of all the industries and investment companies owned and managed by me when I was alive. It is my desire that the MP Birla Group of Companies consolidate, expand and grow in the years ahead with excellence in management through professional expertise, monitoring and systems with appropriate autonomy and accountability and without interference or involvement of my relatives or other family members. I am confident that the management of our companies shall accordingly rise to the occasion and run their concerns with interest efficiently (under) overall control and guidance of Shri Rajendra Lodha.
(iii) All institutions dealing with charitable and philanthropic activities shall have as their mission to strive to their utmost for the concern and care of the needy and the underprivileged and for serving humanity and the management of these institutions shall continue to act as Trustees as if they shall give themselves with the simplicity, humility, discipline, active involvement and dedication inspiringly displayed by the Group's Founder Syt. MP Birla. I hope and wish that Smt. Nandini Nopany continues to be actively involved in these activities subject to the overall guidance of Shri Rajendra Lodha who if and when circumstances necessitate will give such advice and instructions as are needed.
(iv) He will give financial and administrative support to the charitable institutions maintained by me when I was alive.
(v) He will also endeavour to afford and expand the reliefs for the needy and poor regardless of religion, community, caste or creed in the fields of education, health and other objectives of general public utility, construct schools, colleges and technical institutions in important centres, establish and maintain libraries useful for scholars that should interalia contain books on our ancient wisdom in Vedas, Vedantas, Upanishads, Shastras and works of great saints and sages, and provide adequate research facilities in all branches of knowledge useful to society.
(vi) He will have power to seek guidance, advice and such assistance as he may consider necessary from any eminent person or group or persons in specialised fields and acknowledged expertise.
5. (i) Shri Rajendra S. Lodha will follow ethical, moral and legal principles in all the work and activities following from this Will and Testament.
(ii) If for any reason he is unable to carry on the duties under this Will, he can in his total discretion delegate the duties and responsibilities to a board of trustees consisting of up to three persons whom he may choose and which may include interalia 1. Shri Harsh V. Lodha 2. Smt Nandini Nopany.
6. (i) Shri Rajendra S. Lodha has expressed his desire to ultimately devote more time to philanthropy and for public causes in the years and specially once he reaches the age of 65. It is my keen desire and wish that notwithstanding what has been stated hereinabove as and when this happens his son Harsh Vardhan whom I have been personally grooming since sometime forthwith takes the place of his father in full measures set out in para 4 hereinabove as and when and in such manner as Shri Rajendra S Lodha so decides and with the hope and wish that in such event he continues his active involvement with our charitable and philanthropic institutions.
(ii) I hereby appoint Shri Rajendra S. Lodha as the Executor of this Will.
In witness whereof I have signed this Will at Calcutta on this 18th day of April 1999.
Smt Priyamvada Devi Birla Sd/-
In the presence of us all three being present at the same time and at her request subscribed our name hereunder as witnesses.
1. Dr Madan S. Vaidya
4 Lord Sinha Road,
Calcutta - 16.
2. P L Agarwal
Khaitan & Co. Solicitors
9 Old Post Office Street,
Calcutta - 1.
3. Mahabir Prasad Sharma
64, Syed Amir Ali Avenue,
Calcutta - 19.
Courtesy: The Statesman