Court Tells Birlas To Prove Locus Standi In Will Case

Kolkata, July 28 | Updated: Jul 29 2004, 05:57am hrs
The Calcutta high court on Wednesday directed the Birla clans to file affidavits within two weeks explaining their locus standi in filing caveats challenging the probate petition regarding the will of the late Mrs Priyamvada Birla.

Hearing the petition by Rajendra S Lodha seeking discharge of the caveats filed by the Birlas, Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta said Mr Lodha would have to file his reply within two weeks of the Birlas explanation.

The case will be heard again on August 25. In her will, Mrs Birla has reportedly bequeathed the entire empire of her late husband, Mr Madhav Prasad Birla, to Mr Lodha, a chartered accountant who had been helping her at the helm as co-chairman.

However, six members of the extended Birla clans Mr Basant Kumar Birla, Mr Krishna Kumar Birla, Mr Ganga Prasad Birla, Mr Yash Birla and two sisters of MP Birla had filed caveats challenging the probate petition filed by Mr Lodha.

Fox & Mandal, the solicitors acting for Mr Lodha, had appealed for discharge of the caveats filed by four of them Mr BK Birla, Mr KK Birla, Mr GP Birla and Mr Yash Birla.

On Wednesday, Mr Anindya Mitra, who appeared for the Lodhas, argued that the four Birlas named do not have locus standi to challenge the probate petition. Mr Mitra argued that they are not legal heirs.

Mr Satyabrata Mukherjee, who appeared for the Birlas, requested Justice Sengupta to direct the Lodhas to give them copies of the probate petition and the will. Meanwhile, sources close to the Birla family said they would stick to the stand that an outsider has no right to the property of the Late Mrs Priyamvada Birla.

When contacted later, Mr Debanjan Mandal, a partner in Fox & Mandal, said that they have not called for the discharge of the caveats filed by Mrs Mohta. We have issued her a citation notice, Mr Mandal said.