The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fresh salvo in fortune face-off
- Birlas file another caveat to keep Lodhas from authenticating will even as settlement channels stay open

Calcutta, July 16: The Birlas have filed another caveat in court against Rajendra S. Lodha even as the hotline for talks on a compromise deal between the two sides remained open.

Yashovardhan Birla, who was widely seen as the heir apparent to the MP Birla group’s property, filed a caveat against Lodha today in the probate section of the District Judges Court, Alipore.

Yash’s move was another attempt to pre-empt Lodha from authenticating the will without informing the Birla family members. On Wednesday, the Birlas had filed a caveat in Calcutta High Court and served a legal notice on Lodha asking him to furnish a copy of the will in 24 hours — which he didn’t comply with.

A senior family member said today that the Birlas would move court against Lodha either on Saturday, or latest by Monday, if he failed to submit a certified copy of the will tonight.

“Yesterday, Lodha said he did not send the copy because the period of mourning was on. We really don’t know how that matters to him since it was our family affair,” he told The Telegraph.

He also noted that none of the Birla family members received a copy of the will till 3 pm today.

Birla sources said the ultimatum for a copy had already been served. “We will see how he (R. S. Lodha) can continue ignoring it. We will move court against any sinister motive.”

Reports said a channel of communication for a compromise still remained open, through Lodha’s son Aditya.

However, Birla family members denied that they were negotiating a compromise through mediators in the Marwari community.

Although the Lodha family members continue to remain reticent, sources said R. S. Lodha may file a petition early next week to probate the will.

Meanwhile, the Birlas issued another press release today saying, “The family was extremely surprised to hear that Priyamvada’s entire wealth was earmarked in favour of R.S. Lodha.”

The Birlas have also vowed to thwart any attempt by Lodha to seek a board position on any Birla company in which Pilani Investments has a stake.

“The M. P. Birla family holds about 25 per cent in Pilani Investments. None of the other Birla families intends to buy the M. P. Birla family’s stake in Pilani,” the release stated.

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