The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Birla will face-off in court

Calcutta, July 25: The Birlas and the Lodhas are set to square off in the courtroom tomorrow in the first legal skirmish in the battle over Priyamvada Birla’s will.

The case has been listed for hearing in Calcutta High Court. Though it is low down the order of tomorrow’s cases, it is likely to be heard because of its high-profile nature.

Priyamvada Birla left all her property to Rajendra Singh Lodha in her will, which the Birlas are challenging. The Birlas argue that Lodha, an “outsider”, has no claim to family assets. They have also contested the veracity of the will.

However, before they got to question Lodha’s probate application seeking court authentication of the will, Lodha filed a petition challenging their authority to do so.

Sources close to the Birlas said the family would seek the appointment of a team of special officers by the court to oversee the property and businesses till the case is disposed of.

“The appointment of at least three retired Supreme Court judges, who will oversee the property and businesses, will be one of the most ardent requests of the Birlas to the court of law,” they said.

Earlier, there were reports that the Birlas would produce a will left by M.P. Birla, Priyamvada’s husband, to buttress their case against Lodha. But a long-time associate of the Birla family discounted the possibility.

“There is no M.P. Birla will that has been probated. According to law, probate has to be taken within 12 years of a person’s death. Since already 14 years have passed since M.P. Birla’s death, even if there is a will, that will not have any importance in the eyes of law,” he said.

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