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Bajaj tiff doesn’t spare kids

Mumbai, Oct. 2: The raging battle within the Bajaj group has now engulfed the grandchildren of Rahul Bajaj.

The two children — Rishab and Sanjali Bajaj — were drawn into the messy litigation in February but it’s only now that the details have started to trickle out.

Rishab is the minor son of Rajiv Bajaj and his wife Deepa, while Sanjali is the minor daughter of Sanjiv Bajaj and his wife Shefali.

Rajiv and Sanjiv are the two sons of Rahul Bajaj; they also are managing director and executive director, respectively, of two-wheeler maker Bajaj Auto, the flagship company within the group.

Rahul Bajaj’s estranged brother Shishir and his son Kushagra have been battling the extended Bajaj family for a separation of family assets with full control of two group companies — sugar maker Bajaj Hindustan Ltd and Bajaj Consumer Care Ltd.

Under the terms of the settlement, Shishir and Kushagra Bajaj were supposed to get “independent control and ownership of all the interests of the Bajaj family, both direct and indirect” in Bajaj Hindustan and Bajaj Consumer Care.

Last October, the Shishir Bajaj faction said it wished to implead the two children as respondents in an application filed before the Company Law Board seeking to enforce the family settlement.

The two children held 10,000 shares each in Bajaj Hindustan and the Shishir faction wanted these to be transferred to them along with the chunk held by the Rahul Bajaj faction.

The wives of Rajiv and Sanjiv Bajaj filed affidavits in August challenging the move to drag their minor children into the acrimonious battle.

In similarly worded affidavits, Deepa and Shefali Bajaj argued that the two children were not originally impleaded in the petition filed by the Shishir Bajaj faction. They said the two children “were neither a party to the petition nor a party to the MoU” which had been signed by “certain members of the Bajaj family”.

The affidavits said the Shishir faction was seeking transfer of the 20,000 shares in Bajaj Hindustan from the two children at the agreed price of Rs 6.70 per share against the prevailing market price of Rs 130.

The wives — who claimed that they had the support of Rajiv and Sanjiv Bajaj to make the affidavits — said the Shishir faction was also seeking a monetary compensation of Rs 260.17 crore for relinquishing their interests in the other assets of the Bajaj group.

The children would also be denied the sum of Rs 6.70 per share as it would be netted out while paying the Rs 260 crore compensation to the Shishir faction. As a result, the two children would not “receive a single paisa for transferring the shares held…in the capital of the company,” the affidavits said.

Deepa Bajaj — who held 20,000 shares in Bajaj Hindustan Ltd — would also stand to lose in the event that the CLB ordered a transfer of her shares to the other side.

The Shishir faction has said this was just a ruse to scuttle the family settlement. “The unconscionable contention is now raised for the first time that that the two minor children … are not bound to transfer the Bajaj Hindustan Ltd shares held by them under the family settlement and that this contention was being raised with the consent of their fathers who had signed and executed the MoU.”

Both sides have since repudiated the family settlement and are all set for a protracted legal battle.

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