The National Company Law Tribunal, Chennai, has said that MAM Ramaswamy Chettiar of Chettinad Charitable Trust - a trust formed by MAM Ramaswamy himself on February 9, 2015 — is entitled to step into the shoes of MAM Ramaswamy in so far as adjudication of the petition, which sought refund of deposit of ₹55.26 crore along with interest of ₹11.05 crore from Chettinad Coal Washeries Pvt Ltd (respondent).

The order by R Sucharitha, Member (Judicial) and Sameer Kakar, Member (Technical), dismissed the application, which was filed by MAMR Muthiah, the adopted son of Ramaswamy, to implead himself as proposed petitioner. The original petitioner MAM Ramaswamy had passed away on December 2, 2015. Thereafter, the applicant - MAM Ramaswamy Chettiar of Chettinad Charitable Trust - had moved an application seeking to be impleaded as proposed petitioner in the place of the deceased.

Properties gifted

MAM Ramaswamy listed out all the movable assets owned and possessed by him in a Will dated February 18, 2015 and handed over the original will to AC Muthiah and made an oral gift of all moveable assets owned by him by making a declaration to the trustees in the presence of Jayaraman and K Muthuvellayan on his birthday on September 30, 2015 and the Trust has accepted the oral gift of all the movable properties.

Consequently, it was submitted that there is a gift of the fixed deposits and loans and advances by MAM Ramaswamy in favour of the Trust on September 30, 2015 which has been accepted by the private trust.

The NCLT in its order issued on May 26 said that on April 6, 2015, in the first meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Trust, which was held in the presence of MAM Ramaswamy, the Trust has accepted all the movable assets of MAM Ramaswamy to the Trust.

Collateral purposes

The contention raised by the respondent/applicant, MAMR Muthiah, that the probate of the Will dated February 18, 2015 executed by MAM Ramaswamy is pending before the Madras High Court and hence it cannot be relied upon for any purpose, does not hold much water since the recitals made in the Will is clear and explicit and that the Trust is not claiming any right as an executor or legatee under the Will. However, the Trust is only seeking to rely upon the Will for collateral purposes.

‘Strained relations’

Further, the impleading application filed by MAMR Muthiah also cannot be considered at this point, since the legal-heir certificate obtained by him in 2016 is also under challenge in the Madras High Court. Also, a perusal of the Will would clearly posit the fact that the relationship between MAM Ramaswamy and MAMR Muthiah was so strained that he did not even allow his adopted son MAMR Muthiah to perform obsequies or rituals in relation to this death, the order said.

“Thus, we are of the considered view that MAM Ramaswamy Chettiar of Chettinad Charitable Trust is entitled to step in to the shoes of MAM Ramaswamy in so far as adjudication of TCP/1/2016 is concerned and accordingly application stands allowed,” it said.