Unhappy hour: Khoday family in feud over assets

K Giriprakash Bengaluru | Updated on July 30, 2020

At the centre of the dispute is assets worth $1 billion to $1.5 billion spread across continents. The players involved in the dispute belong to the Khoday family, which runs the country’s oldest liquor company.

A fight has broken out among the siblings of the patriarch, Lakshmansa, for the division of assets ranging from distilleries that manufacture the iconic Hercules rum and Peter Scot whisky, real estate properties overseas and across Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and a few other States.

Public notice issued

The dispute came to light after some members of the family issued a public notice in one of the local newspapers, where KLA Padmanabhasa, the joint managing director of the Khodays Group, claimed that his son-in-law and nephew MM Ananthamurthy has not been authorised to represent the group in any manner.

“Mr MM Ananthamurthy does not in any form or manner represent or form part of nor does he hold any position, whether economic or otherwise, in the Khoday Group and or the Khoday family,” the notice read.

A day later, Ananthamurthy, in his public notice, claimed that the notice issued by his father-in-law and his brother-in-law, KP Ghanshyam, were false, misleading and defamatory in nature and “designed in a way to create confusion and distress among all the stakeholders of the properties of Khoday family and also to create damage to my reputation”. The Khoday family consists of five brothers and two sisters with the patriarch of the family, Lakshmansa, having passed away several years ago. Among the family members, Srihari Khoday, the managing director of the listed entity, Khoday India Ltd, who passed away in 2016, was an extremely popular businessman and the face of the Khoday family. After his demise, the post of the managing director has not been filled so far.

Sources in the family told BusinessLine that around 2016, a settlement between sister Lakshmidevi, whose son Ananthamurthy is one of the litigants, and the rest, was carried out, but three years laterthe dispute again broke out between the factions. As per the conditions of the settlement, either of the parties was allowed to file claims within a timeframe of three years, sources claimed. However, the new case was filed after the deadline was over, it is learnt.

“One usually measures real estate assets in square feet or in acres but Khodays’ assets should be measured in square kilometres,” a close family associate of the family said.

The Khodays were at one time considered one of the most powerful families in South India and politically well connected and were close to the former chief minister and union cabinet minister, late Ramakrishna Hedge.

Published on July 30, 2020

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