Lodha Vs Birla: Focus Now On BKs Entry As Executor

Kolkata, Aug 30 | Updated: Aug 31 2004, 05:31am hrs
Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta of the Calcutta High Court will decide on Wednesday whether BK Birla will be eligible to be an executor in the probate petition filed by the Birla clans for two 1982 mutual wills signed by MP Birla and his wife Priyamvada Birla.

The Birla clans have filed for probate of the two mutual wills to challenge Rajendra S Lodha, the chartered accountant who stirred a hornets nest by claiming that Mrs Priyamvada Birla had willed away the entire estate of her late husband to him.

Following Mrs Birlas death on July 3 this year, Mr Lodha had produced a will on July 12 purportedly made by her in 1997.

In the two 1982 mutual wills, Mr MP Birla and Mrs Priyamvada Birla were the fourth executors apart from GP Birla, K Tapuriah and PK Khaitan.

The Birla lawyers pleaded that since both Mr MP Birla and Mrs Priyamvada Birla are no more alive, Mr BK Birla should be allowed to be the fourth executor of the two mutual wills signed in 1982.

After hearing both the parties, Justice Sengupta said that the court would pass orders on Wednesday on whether there is a necessity for substitution of the executors in case of the 1982 mutual wills as recommended by the surviving executors.

On Wednesday, the Calcutta High Court will also pass orders on whether the Birlas will be required to submit to the Registrar of the Calcutta High Court the originals of the 1982 mutual wills along with the probate petition. On Monday, the Birlas filed notarised copies of the 1982 mutual wills.

The counsel for the Lodhas objected to this, pleading for submission of the original wills.

Counsel for the Birlas pleaded that they have submitted the notarised copies instead of the original copies since they apprehended that the original copies might be tampered with.

Counsel for the Lodhas argued that there had been a number of probate petitions at the Calcutta High Court in the past and there will be many in future and hence such apprehensions were baseless. Even Justice Sengupta told the Birla counsel that such apprehensions did not have much ground and asked them to withdraw the entire paragraph pertaining to their apprehension. The Birla counsels immediately agreed to do so.

Later Justice Sengupta said that on Wednesday he would pass an order on whether the Birlas will have to submit the original copy of the 1982 mutual wills with the probate petition. The Birlas were represented by a former Union minister, Mr Satyabrata Mukherjee, Mr Shyam Sarkar, Mr PK Roy and Mr Bhaskar Sen.

Mr Anindya Mitra, a former solicitor general of eastern India, Mr Pratap Chatterjee and Mr BK Bachayat represented the Lodhas.