May 29, 2013, 03.32 PM IST | Source:

A son-in-law once helped N Srinivasan expand his empire

Ironically, it was the sneaky act of a son-in-law that had helped Srinivasan’s company India Cements acquire BV Raju-promoted Raasi Cements in the late 90s after a bitter struggle.

Santosh Nair

You could call it karmic retribution, or to use a phrase: 'getting a taste of one's own medicine.' As BCCI President N Srinivasan battles for his chair, thanks to the misdeeds of his son-in-law, he would now have a first-hand experience of how it feels to be betrayed by one's own kin.

Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of Srinivasan and ex-team principal of Chennai Super Kings, has been jailed for spot fixing , sparking public calls for the BCCI President to resign. Srinivasan has managed to retain his position for now, even as protests against his leadership are getting louder.

Ironically, it was the sneaky act of a son-in-law that had helped Srinivasan's company India Cements acquire BV Raju-promoted Raasi Cements in the late 90s after a bitter struggle.

The tussle began when Srinivasan managed to exploit a rift in the Raju family and got one of BV Raju's sons-in-law to sell his 8.3 percent stake in Raasi Cement to India Cements.

Also Read: N Srinivasan rejects requests of BCCI members to step down

"I vividly remember the old man (BV Raju) sobbing in front of me, saying he had been betrayed by his son-in-law, and pleading for help," said a cement industry veteran who had been approached by Raasi as a white knight to ward off the takeover threat from India Cements.

According to this person, BV Raju was doomed the moment his son-law switched loyalty to Srinivasan.

"He passed on the details of the complex shareholding structure of Raasi, and the beneficiary owners, which made it easy for India Cements to approach key shareholders with an attractive offer," the person said, adding, "…at one point India Cements knew every thing going on in the Raasi board."

By January 1998, India Cements had accumulated a little over 18 percent in Rassi, and the following month, it made an open offer for an additional 20 percent.

When it became evident that he would lose control of his company, BV Raju made a final attempt to frustrate India Cements by transferring ownership of a key subsidiary, Sri Vishnu Cements, to the promoters of Raasi. Such a transfer was in violation of the Sebi Takeover Code, as it had been done after India Cements’ open offer was made. Raju tried to make it look as through the decision had been taken at a board meeting much before the open offer was made. He almost got away, but for an insider leaking the minutes of the previous board meetings to show that the decision had been taken after the open offer.

A legal battle ensued, and Raju realised he had no option but to give up control of his company, which took him nearly two decades to build. Raju died in June 2002, and according to those who knew him, a broken man.

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