Our Legal Correspondent

Kolkata, Dec. 21

A Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court comprising Mr Justice P.C. Ghose and Mr Justice P.K. Dutt today upheld the order of the Single Judge (in March 2005) who rejected the caveatable interest of Mr K.K. Birla, Mr B.K. Birla and Mr Yashovardhan Birla, in the case pertaining to the will of late Priyamvada Devi Birla, made in 1999.

The property left behind by Priyamvada Devi is said to be valued at over Rs 5,000 crore. The Birlas have decided to challenge the order in the Supreme Court.

The Bench also upheld the decision of the single Judge that Mr R.S. Lodha has a caveatable interest in the mutual will of M.P. Birla, made in 1982. The Division Bench, while dismissing the appeal of the Birlas, also dismissed the cross appeal of Mr R.S. Lodha challenging the order of the single Judge, who held that G.P. Birla has caveatable interest in the 1999 will of Priyamvada Birla.

The Bench, while dismissing the appeal, stayed the operation of the order for four weeks, enabling the Birlas to move to a higher forum.

After the judgment was pronounced, the Birlas, addressing a news conference, stated that they would challenge the order of the Appeal Court in the Supreme Court. The Birlas, apparently are not giving any sort of walk-over to Mr Lodha, and in the pending proceedings, challenge (of the Will) by G.P.Birla and the two sisters of MP Birla still remains, and the said Will would be contested.

It may be recalled that in 2004, Mr R.S. Lodha filed a probate petition for the will of Priyamvada Birla in the capacity of an executor. This was challenged by four Birlas. Mr Lodha moved court challenging the caveats. Mr Justice K.J. Sengupta, on March 11, 2005, held that only G.P. Birla, out of the four, had caveatable interest, as he was one of the executors of the 1982 will of Priyamvada Birla. The Birlas then challenged the order in a Division Bench.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 22, 2006)
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