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Court spikes Lodha plea

Calcutta, Nov. 27: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a special leave petition filed by Harsh Vardhan Lodha in the matter of appointment and powers of the administrators over the estate of late Priyamvada Birla.

Lodha had sought certain interpretation of legal issues involved in the August 23 judgment of Calcutta High Court appointing three administrators.

After hearing both parties, Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai of Supreme Court said, “We find no merit in the petitions for special leave. These are dismissed.”

Calcutta High Court, in its order, had vested all rights pertaining to the Birla estate to the administrators, giving an advantage to the Birla family in their long-drawn legal battle against the Lodhas for the control of the MP Birla group.

The division bench had nominated Justice C.K. Thakker, a former judge of the Supreme Court, while the Birlas and the Lodhas nominated Amal Chandra Chakraborty and Mahendra Kumar Sharma, respectively, as their representatives in the three-member committee.

After the resignation of Justice Thakker, the bench appointed Justice R.V. Raveendran, another retired apex court judge, as the third member on October 4.

The Birla camp claimed that the Supreme Court move would allow the administrators to take control of all companies under the effective supervision of Harsh Lodha.

“In view of the dismissal of the SLP (special leave petition) by the Supreme Court, there are no stumbling blocks any more on the exercise of ownership rights and powers by the committee of joint administrators on the controlling block of shares of all the companies of the MP Birla Group,” the Birla camp said.

The Lodha camp said the order would have no bearing on the way Harsh Lodha was managing the group after the death of his father Rajendra Singh Lodha in October 2008.

“We did not challenge the appointment of the administrators. We did not contest the choice of individuals as administrator. We wanted to clarify the powers of the administrator. The Supreme Court order means that whatever the high court had defined, stands,” a source in the Lodha camp said.

 
 
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